Beginner freshwater tank couple - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-02-2019, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner freshwater tank couple

Hell everyone! My fiance and I recently started our fish tank adventure and it's certainly been a learning experience. We've had some road bumps but come out on the other side better informed and with two albeit small but healthy tanks. We have a 10 gallon with 4 Mollys, 2 Tetras, 1 pleco, 1 catfish, and 4 snails. We also have a 5.5 gallon tank with 1 betta, 1 pleco, 2 snails, and 1 other fish that I'll get to in a minute. We battled ich recently in our 10 gallon tank and after about a month of it appearing to go away and then coming back three times we are finally happy to say that it is completely gone and 5 of our original fish survived!

So the reason I joined the forum and am posting is because I believe we may have been mislead today and am not sure how to proceed. We went to a local fish store and pittered around mostly just curious because it's a mom and pop store and we were curious. While there we spoke with an Associate who seemed very well informed about our tanks. I mentioned in interest in loaches however I didnt really know anything about them and how it might be cool to have one with our betta (in a 5.5 gallon tank). He took us over to check out the golden loaches and told us it would do well with our betta and snails and pleco and had reccomend either that or 2 tiny panda catfish that only grow to about an inch each. I thought the loach was really adorable and having been given this seemingly informed person 's blessing decided to pick it up. His name is Dratini and he is about an inch and a half long (maybe a little smaller). At his current size he seems like he's the perfect final addition to our tiny tank. My fiance and I were very pleased.
After a couple of hours in the tank I noticed that he isnt very active and is kind of just laying around. He didnt even move when my pleco bumped into him. Hes not completely inactive, he swam/slithered from one end of the tank to the other a few times and still kinda moves a little every 90 seconds or so but hes just not as active as he was at the store.
Naturally, I decided to hop on google and look into it. That's how I found myself here, creating a profile, and making this post. The more I read the more I fear we've made a grave mistake. Everything I find says he needs at least a 55 gallon tank and 2 dojo loaches for optimum health. My fiance and I are planning on upgrading to a 45-60 gallon tank in two months but cannot do it right now.
I'd hate to take him back to the store because we are really in love with the little guy but I also dont want him to suffer. What do you all think?
Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for all of your help. 😊
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-02-2019, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Here are some pics of the tank and Dratini (the golden dojo loach) for reference
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-02-2019, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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You can see him the pineapple
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-02-2019, 10:01 PM
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What type of plecos? Many get to be two feet in length, and most (if any) won't do well in the 5.5gal. Their organs will outgrow their body and theyproduce massive amounts of waste plus stop eating algae as adults. Panda loaches stay smallish (2.5-3in), dojo loaches will reach 12in. All loaches are nocturnal and should be kept with 5+ group. Loaches will also eat snails. Unfortunately most fish store staff will give wrong info. I like to go into a store, take pictures of the fish/species name and research before buying anything. The betta might not like having anyone else but the snails in a tank that size. 10gal is the smallest for a true betta community tank and it needs to be planted. They can be aggressive with territory. Mystery snails are fun to watch and do great with bettas. Also are great wioth algae, better than plecos IMO. I only ever see my loaches when the weather gets bad or late at night. That guy is going to be pretty big even for a 55, especially since groups help them become more bold and less stressed. Smaller plecos like rubber lip or bushy nose would work in the 55 just fine, just remember to feed them well or they could start eating the slime coat on the other fish. What type of catfish? Your 10gal will likely have a heavy bioload, highly recommend returning both plecos (unless upgrading very soon and the are a small type). It's great that you're learning as much as you can. All of us make blunders, but it's still rewarding. There's tons of great videos on youtube about fish care and what species fit well in different tank sizes. Hopefully you've researched the nitrogen cycle.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-02-2019, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Genos thanks for the swift reply! Our plecos are the whiskered ones that are safe for 10 gallon tanks (they're really tiny right now and are supposed to grow to 2 inches max). The betta, Sunshine, and our smallest pleco, Shanghai Kitchen (we have a lot of fun naming our fish haha) have been in the same tank for about a month and seem to do really well together. They are both very active and our betta has not harassed the pleco at all (I check his fins daily for bites and such). I agree that the snails are awesome, we have a lot of fun just watching them do their thing. They are also super active in both tanks. Our catfish is an albino cory catfish (but hes in the ten gallon). I have researched the nitrogen cycle as well as have checked our water levels (nitrates, ph, etc.) once a week for the last few weeks. Our 10 gallon seems to have a good balance, everyone is very active and healthy, and we are 100% done adding to that one.
When we upgrade to a 65 gallon (2 months from now) we are planning to move the betta and friends to the 10 gallon and everyone in the 10 gallon plus our loach to the 65. I just dont know if its cruel to keep him in a 5.5 gallon until then.
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-02-2019, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Heres the 10 gallon just for fun
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-03-2019, 08:23 AM
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I'm sorry to inform you but bushy/bristle nose get 4.5 in and min tank size is 25gal. They'll throw of the balance and most likely be stunted. The smallest pleco I know of is the Pitbull and 20gal is still the minimum. They also require driftwood in their diet and are semi carnivorous as they age. The cory is fine, they do like schools so if he ends up in the 65gal get a few more, very fun to watch! The 10gal is a fun looking tank. Make sure the water level is higher and possibly put a sponge where the water is coming out of the filter, bettas like slow moving water. Moss balls, anubius, and java fern are great plants for them. I love floating lettuce plants (a few types) and bettas do too. Just some options that don't require anything special if you ever want to do live plants (any lighting is fine and they don't need to be planted, just tie to something or bury the roots). Just consider if the loach is right for you. Again nocturnal and shy, should be in groups 3-5, eats snails, will go bonkers during weather changes which might freak the other fish, are scaleless (like the cory) and many meds will kill them. Plan on taking a month for cycling the new tank (without fish is always best, Dr.Tim's pure ammonia is great and they have a video on how to quickly cycle.) A cycled tank reads 0ppm ammonia and nitrite, with some amount of nitrate. Nitrates should never be above 40ppm. I grow pothos plant out of all my tanks to help with maintenance. My 15gal betta tank is half planted and has some rummy nose tetra (great schooling behavior), and a few mystery snails. Decide on what fish you want in the 65gal before you start buying the equipment. Hang on the back, sponge, canister, and sump filters are sometimes better for one kind of fish over the other. Always get more than what you need. I love both the ehiem and fluval heaters and it's worth the few extra dollars to not worry about a heater malfunction. If you really want loaches in the 10gal, get 3 coolie loaches and make sure they have plenty of dark hiding spots. They need a sinking semi carnivore pellet right before lights-out. I personally would take back the golden loach and plan on either rehoming both plecos or putting both in the 65gal. Good luck and feel free to ask as many questions as you need. This is a great community here!
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-03-2019, 08:26 AM
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Here's my 15gal. The tall plant is amazon sword and does need either root tabs or special substrate, but still easy easy
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-03-2019, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Hello! Thanks again for all of the info. So new development.
My fiance and I really love our plecos and the loach so we decided to look around craigslist for an economical bundle with a large tank. We've found one we're thinking of picking up sometime next week. Its 60 gallons, 4 feet long, and has a heater, filter, light and two healthy fish in it. We just dropped by to see it in person. With the tank the owner wants to include his two Oscars. They are giant.
We are pretty much sold on the tank but not sure how the two oscars would do with our tiny fish.
Our fish would be 4 mollies, 2 tetras, one cory catfish, 3 golden dojo loaches (we'd plan on buying two more if we got this tank for optimum sociability for our current one) and 2 bristled plecos. Do you think the very large Oscar's would do well with the fish we plan on adding in?
I'm adding a pic of the tank and oscars to give a reference for how large they are.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-03-2019, 06:58 PM
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Yikes, ONE oscar in a 60gal is pushing it. Oscars get about 16in, and get big fast. They will eat all of the small fish for sure, possibly the plecos (which will kill both fish). See if your local fish store will take them in. They're great fish, do enjoy being in small groups, with large peaceful community fish (4in+), or alone but not in that tank. I suspect that's why the water looks a mess. You might have more fun going crazy decorating it and filling it with small peaceful fish (just be mindful of the loach, might eat them if they fit in his mouth or might never bother anyone). Rainbow, congo tetras, dwarf gouramis could be fun options with the 10gal fish you plan on moving. If you don't want to deal with selling/rehoming oscar, facebook marketplace also has a ton of tanks for sale. People are always adding to both sites. Really decide on what fish you want and what flow they need, you could actually be saving money by buying a tank without the filter. It was cheaper for me to buy just a tank with stand and lighting. Hand on back filters are about 20-60USD for that size tank, canister filters are 80-100, and sponge filters with air pump are about 20. Only use the sponge if the fish in the tank require minimal water flow. I really like the aquaclear HOB and Hydor canister. They're rated for different size tanks, always go up a size. Sand/gravel starts getting pricey too. Expect about 1 lb per gal. Don't buy pool filter sand. Many use it but there can be issues. Walk around the fish store, observe behavior and appearance of fish you may want, go home and google their care and compatiblilty with the fish you currently have. Never just rely on store staff, even at specialized stores I've gotten grossly false info. It's sad seeing those oscars in that condition, they're really wonderful wetpets.
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