Keeping otos and guppies together in the same tank?
I'm setting up a 5 gal tank right now for some guppies and otos, just waiting for it to cycle, and I am noticing that the temperature sits at around 25C (between 73-74 degrees F by my thermometer). During the day with the lights on it's usually one to 1.5 degrees higher in temp, and that drops down at night when everything goes off.
I plan to put 3 male guppies, 2 otocinclus' and maybe a ghost shrimp in it (I haven't decided yet on the shrimp.Not sure if my bioload would be helped or hindered by adding a garbage collector at this point.) and I am getting all kinds of info from the net about the care of these fish, what temps they like etc. Would I need a heater for this tank at my current temps? It's been a week and my log is showing a reliably constant temp.
I read one place that you can't keep otos with guppies because they don't like salty water, and other places (like videos on youtube) say that they are fine tank mates because you don't really have to add salt to the guppies water, they can live in varying degrees of salinity and if that is the only thing missing from an otherwise ideal set up for them they will be fine and so will the otos. I'm just trying to get my facts straight and get info from people who have actually managed to keep these fish together, happy and healthy, who can debunk or confirm this info.
Also just as a side note do you think three male guppies and 2 otos is too many fish for a tank this size? I have plenty of hidding places/caves and plants they can get away from each other in, and I chose the otos because they are bottom swimmers/feeders and the guppies hang out mid to top of the tank. I was going to get 4 guppies and only 1 oto, but I read they like to hang out together in groups and should be kept with a buddy or two of the same species. If you know of another bottom feeder taht might be more appropriate for my set up please let me know, I am new at this and all suggestions and comments are welcome if the fish will be better off!
Thanks a lot!
First I would determine what the ph of my tapwater is. this will be the water you will be using for weekly 25 to 30 percent water changes.
Guppy's prefer hard basic water with ph between 7.5 and 8.0 and do poorly over the long haul in soft acidic water. they also prefer warmer water with temps between 76 and 80 degrees F.
Would be careful with placing three males in such a small tank especially the long finned variety for male livebearer's such as guppy's molly's and platy's along with swordtails are often aggressive with subordinate males while establishing dominance or the right to breed with females.
In the absence of females ,the males will turn on each other and thus a larger tank ,something in the 20 gal range would be more suitable.
The otocinclus are best added after the tank is a few months old for they seldom do well in newly set up tanks ,or tanks that have little to no algae which is their primary food.
Often these fish are in poor shape when they arrive at fish stores due to stress from capture and shipping.
Add to this ,a lack of their favorite food (algae) and many succumb quite quickly.
They really should be in groups of five or more and again, a larger tank would allow you to keep them in a group. 78 degrees F would suit the otocinclus and some are reported to take quickly to vegetable matter such as romain lettuce,zuchinni, cucumber,and algae wafers but in my opinion ,,a tank of three or four months old would be best for it will most likely have some algae growth for the fishes should they decide that the vegetables are not to their liking. The Oto's are nearly all wild caught fish and as such vegetable's such as those mentioned,are not something they would readily recognize. Some will take to them ,others won't and slowly starve to death. Hope some of this helps.
I think you are overstocking. Guppies produce a lot of waste, and otos are pretty sensitive to water quality. You'd have to monitor your water really closely if you want that many fish in a 5 gal.
Also, as previously mentioned, otos need a source of natural algae when they are first introduced to the tank. They can adapt to eating veggies or algae wafers, but initially they must have a source of natural algae to eat.
As for your pH, as long as it is not too extreme, otos can adapt if they are accumulated to the tank properly. My pH is 7.8 and my otos are doing great (they've been in my tank for about 7 weeks now). You definitely shouldn't add salt to an oto tank though! They are scaleless fish, which means they are very sensitive to water quality, medications, and salt. Guppies will be fine without salt.
In my opinion a 5 gallon is to small for that many fish. Have you thought about a betta instead of the guppys? They come in lots of colors and styles and have alot of personality and a 5 gallon is a great size for them. There are many types of fish that are better suited for that small of a tank but the most common is the betta. Some other fish that come to mind that you could look into are Ember Tetras, and Mosquito Rasbora. Here are there profiles from our profile section I would say you could do maybe 5 of either of them and maybe 2-3 ghost shrimp:
The shrimp,or nerite snails would be my choice for cleanup patrol in a five gallon tank.
I keep otos in a pH of 8, I dont know how it will effect them long term, but for short term they are doing well (going on 3 - 4 months).
Thanks very much everyone for your help! My ammonia is doing very well, it is slowly declining and I will be testing for nitrites on Saturday. Also now that the seafood has been removed for a few days, my water is clearing up and the smell and sick white scummy stuff ontop of the tank are gone. It's not what I would call crystal clear, just because it has a bunch of "bits" floating around in it that look like tiny microscopic bubble. Some of them may actaully be bubbles I am not 100% sure. As an additional note I am starting to get little green strings growing on a few of my decorations. I think this is called hair algea, should I knock it off with my hand or allow it to keep growing. It's only a few strands here and there, and I just ordered three 5cm marimo from a company in the UK on ebay which I will be adding to the tank when they arrive in a week or two. My local pet store does not have real marimo, they have java moss grown around a cork. The real deal only cost me 10 bucks CDN for 3 marimo, including shipping, and these knockoffs are 10 dollars EACH.
And to let you know what I decided on for fish, I am taking Calmwaters advice and going back to my original plans for a single male betta and a couple of shrimp. Ghost, cherry or glass (those three are the only ones available to me at my local petsmart and I can't order anything live as I live in a dorm and they don't allow anything but PO box shipping) I have yet to decide on, I will look into them further and decide which is best suited for my betta (hopefully he won't eat them) and my tank conditions.
I would suggest the ghost shrimp because the betta may eat them some do and some don't just depends on the betta. The ghost shrimp are cheaper and bigger than the others that way if he does eat them you are not out alot of money. Here the ghost shrimp are only .15 were as the cherrys are $6.00.
I would remove the string algae.
It will never die off on it's own- manual removal is all you can do.
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