New to guppy, read stickies, have questions about algae and cleaning...
I browsed around here a bit and learned a good deal (thanks!) but have some questions.
I've never had fish, but my daughter came home from school with a "pet" male guppy a couple months ago. Every kid in the class got one.
Knowing zero about fish, but wanting to take care of it in a hurry, I went to the pet store down the street and asked for advice. They sold me a one-gallon Aqueon kit like this one (http://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-01204-1-Gallon-Mini-Aquarium/dp/B0036S71MS), some gravel, some tropical flake food, and then my daughter picked out a tiny pirate ship, which we stuck in the corner so the fish has somewhere to rest or hide.
We didn't get any plants, although from my reading here on the forums, I now get the impression I should have plants? And if so, what would be good?
Anyhow, my main problem has been all of a sudden, there's a bunch of algae , mainly on the gravel, and a little on the sides of the tank. From my reading here on the forums, it sounds like we should have the light on less -- my daughter has it on all the time. So that would solve part of it.
Oh, and when I looked at the filter this morning, which I'd changed maybe three weeks ago, it was totally green! :oops:
So, to address the algae problem, I cleaned out what I could from the tank, rinsed a bunch of the gravel thoroughly, changed the filter...then I went to the pet store to ask them about the algae and they sold me a very small oto catfish. I put him in there and he looks very happy, like he's hit the algae lottery.
Is there anything else I should do? Or should the algae situation sort itself out? Except for this, the guppy has seemed quite happy and healthy in there. My daughter really likes him, and I'm sure she'll be pleased he has a "friend" in there too.
So to summarize kind of a long message (sorry -- like I said, I know nothing about fish, and this fish was sprung on me) --
(1) Will those two tiny fish in a one-gallon tank be okay? I read here on the forums that you don't recommend such small tanks, but that's what they sold me, and I've already dropped more than $50 on all the accoutrements for this "free fish."
(2) Should I add plants to the tank and if so, what?
(3) Should I take any other measures to address the algae -- or prevent the algae -- other than what I already described?
(4) Other than the algae, the water has stayed looking clean and clear for two months (and I've changed the little filter twice now) -- are there any other sorts of cleaning, like changing the water, that we need to do, or is best to leave well enough alone if the fish seem happy?
(5) Do you have any other words of wisdom for taking care of these two fish?
Thanks very much! :-D
Hi and Welcome to Tropical fish keeping!
what stickies did you read? First off Most fish store employees will miss lead you cause they simply don't know much of anything. Key word there is most there are some out there that know what they are talking about. A 1 gallon tank in my opinion is not big enough for any fish let alone 2. The best advice I can give you if you really want to keep these fish is get at least a 10 gallon tank. Otos catfish need to be in groups of at least 3 as they are social fish. I have 3 of them and love watching those little guys. The biggest problem I see you are going to have is water quality problems through the algae is probably helping some with that. In a tank without plants algae is a good thing in moderation in the same ways plants can be. As far as water changes even if the water is clear it can still be un healthy for the fish. I would get a test kit to check for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. These can be purchased at the fish store. Ammonia over .25 or .50 is harmful to fish. Nitrites at any level is harmful and nitrates up to and no more then 40ppm is safe levels. These can be and will be present even if the water is clear. I would pick up on the water changes to at least every other day and something like 50% at least.
As far as reducing the algae leaving the light off is the best bet. Algae will continue to grow with it on and the fish will be fine without it. The Oto will only eat common green algae and diatoms (brown algae) btw and aslo sensitive to water quality as these are usually wild caught fish. I would think about returning that fish.
With all that said best bet is get a bigger tank and get a test kit for the water and resource as much as possible (here is a great place to do that).
Sounds like you are trying to do the right thing by your daughter and her fish, that's terrific and what's even better is that you have gone to the trouble of looking for advice, top marks!
You may be on the right track with the light being on most of the time, however, could it be that the tank gets too much sunlight, cos that will do it every time. If this is the case, move it to a spot that is not so bright and just leave the light on for a couple of hours at night.
All fish tanks need regular water changes and because your tank is so small, you should change about one third of the water EVERY week, no more than one third because you will kill the good bacteria that the filter is producing and so it goes that you also don't clean the filter in clean tap water, clean it by all means but use the water you are removing from the tank.
Don't bother with live plants in such a small tank, a plastic one will be fine.
So, your free fish ain't so free is it and I can almost guarantee that if your daughter really gets involved with her new pet, then she will be like most of us and demand something bigger and better....Christmas is just around the corner....good luck, let us know how you get on.
Thanks, Boredomb and Pisces, for the helpful advice and support! :)
Gosh, Boredomb, I read so much stuff...Beginner's Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium Cycle, which I didn't quite understand, then a ton of articles under the "important topics" sticky, then I read all about the guppy and oto catfish under "tropical fish profiles" -- and by that time, my head was spinning.:shock:
I'm sad that the little oto fish needs to be with other ones, because he was the only one they had at the store. He was in a tank full of guppies.
If I return him as you suggest, he'd still be alone, but do you think he'd be better off back at the fish store? I'm kind of annoyed the guy at the store told me this was the right thing to do, if it wasn't. :-?
Okay so one more question too, Pisces: Bottled or distilled water I understand is the way to go, not tap water -- then does the water need drops or anything, or is it good to pour in straight from the bottle, whenever I replace a third of the water?
I do agree with Boredomb regarding the small size of your tank, but if that's what you've got, then that's it I guess (for the time being).
Going to pet stores is always a bit of a lottery and it sounds like your local one is not particulary "fish-wise", so definitely don't put any more fish in your tank, two is it's absolute limit, just make sure you change the filter cartridge every 4 weeks and do as I suggested with the water changes.
I don't know what the water is like where you live and rather than spend any more than necessary, I think you should just use tap water but you must go back to that store first and buy a bottle of "water ager" or "water conditioner", it's the same thing and a few drops (read directions on bottle) put into the tank when you change the water will neutralise any chlorine that is present.
Having fish as extra family members can be expensive and maybe your daughter will "get over it" so maybe it's not a good idea to spend too much on your free fish.
Keep the catfish, it will be o.k.
How about putting up a pic of your tank so we can see it?
What part of the world do you live in, you replied to my post very quickly so you are either on the other side of the globe and can't sleep or you are quite near me?
What a great parent, and best to you both as you find your way with fish keeping. Welcome too! With a limited budget, you should begin checking on Craigslist for a larger tank. Be patient, negotiate, and you'll find one. At least a 10 gallon would be good. I agree, you need a couple more Otos as they should not be kept alone. You've found the right place to learn what you need to keep your fish healthy and alive.
Bp I understand the budget think. I am the only one employed in my house and times are tough. I also understand you are trying to do right by your daughter. That's great! Especially when there are so many dads not there for their kids. Have seen it and heard some much about it. You stated you want to do right for the fish but on a budget. Here is what I suggest. Start using tap water, get some conditioner as suggested. Have your water checked(most fish stores will do this for free). Even if the water is clear doesn't mean it is clean.
My Otos where all in different tanks. I think most store just see them in as "algae eaters" and that's it. Also just keep in mind they only eat certain algae.
I live in Central California, so it's not too late here yet-- almost dinner time! :) I see you're in Sydney! (Never been to Australia...)
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