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About Me

  1. I figured that I may as well start a journal of my fishkeeping adventure. After what happened to me today, and the fact that nobody in my physical life has any interest in my love of aquariums and fish... I think this will be a good place for me to socialize about the hobby and have people who are actually interested to share with. Anyway, I have two main tanks right now. I was told that I'm only allowed to have two... But I've had the "quarantine" tank set up for many months now and plan to get another soon. Hey I need one for babies and one for sick/new fish, right? Or do I need three... I do take my spouse seriously though. But I can dream. I have a 75G, Takashi Amano inspired tank with my first canister filter. I have mixed feelings about that. More on that soon. That's my adventure I had today that sparked my idea to make this journal. I also have a 20G Tall, "toddler tank" in my son's room that was his reward for sleeping in his own bed full time. He loves his fish, he's 3. I love guppies, always have, and have had guppies in just about every fish tank I've had through my life. Now that I have started my own family and have other input on what goes in the tanks, I've fallen in love with otos, swordtails and corydoras. Before I got married, my finest tank had two angles, three spunky, chatty, long whiskered catfish, a team of koolie loaches, an abundance of blue metallic guppies and a pleco. I also kept a single silver butterfly koi in my room that was my best friend for many years. I love fish, I love plants and keeping fish brings me great joy. For now, I have to call it a night, but I'll continue tomorrow. Here's a photo to hint at my canister filter adventure today... 😅
  2. Hello Aquarium coop community! This is my first time sharing anything here, and I probably should have done so earlier because my story has several facets at this point. I love this community and appreciate everything you do here❤️ I’m a pretty novice fish keeper. I have one 10 gallon tank that has been set up since after Christmas of 2021. It has all live plants with two filters since I’m keeping an extra going for the quarantine tub. The only inhabitants of the tank right now are three otocinclus catfish and two assassin snails (oh, and I’ve been fighting hydra in the tank but I think that’s probably unrelated to the other issues I’m having) The ottos eat algae exclusively- I’ve tried spinach, zucchini and algae wafers on them and they won’t touch it. Ammonia- 0 Nitrite- 0 Nitrate- 0-10 Hardness- very hard (off the chart) KH- 60-70 PH- between 6.4 and 6.8 Chlorine- 0 Lights on from 8am to 8 pm with an hour break in the middle Temp- normally kept at 78 but this is a 2nd floor LA apartment and it got up to 82 overnight, I realize that’s too hot, trying to get it down now. The ottos- Ok so back in the end of March I got three ottos to take over for my pond snails which were being eradicated by the assassins. I lost one of those on the first day of quarantine, and a second when I later medicated the display tank for my betta fish (I’ll get to him in a minute). I was left with one lonely Otto, who immediately started presenting with some fin rot and lethargy which I thought may be due to the stress of having no one to shoal with. I had to move apartments, so I let her be like that for a few weeks (no change whatsoever), and then after the move I bought three more. This time I was more cautious with acclimation, and introducing medications (again, used the aquarium co-op quarantine method). I used drip acclimation for everything. Once again, I lost one in quarantine, and two made it into the display tank. They were introduced Thursday, and OG Otto seemed to be loving having friends again. They swam around nonstop all day on Thursday grazing on diatoms, it was great. But come this morning (two days later) I was shocked to see that both the new ottos have chunks missing off their tail fins, just as bad or worse as the OG. Whatever this is, it takes over fast. They’re all just sitting around now, like OG was before they arrived. Not sure if it’s really visible in the video, but OG Otto also has some redness around her gills. I’m sorry the pictures aren’t so clear, my phone has a really hard time focusing on fish this tiny! The betta- Just to be clear off the bat, my Betta fish passed away after we moved into the new apartment. I got him on January 29th, and at that time he already had a small tumor (I didn’t realize it was a tumor until later), and what I thought looked like some mild fin rot, but I will never know for sure because it never wen’t away entirely. I treated him with salt, and then Maracyn during his quarantine. After he moved into the display tank (mid-February) he continued to present with pin-holes appearing on his tail, some of which healed on their own, but eventually they stopped healing back. At the same time his tumor continued to get bigger, and his colors became duller and muddy. He also flashed from time to time but would always stop on his own. I removed some decor, trying to eliminate physical hazards, but nothing helped. By the time it was time to add my first Otto’s to the tank, he wasn’t looking very good and I feel bad that I probably hastened his demise, because he DID NOT like sharing the tank and I had to separate them. Soon after the separator went in (first or second week of April), I treated the entire tank with Paracleanse and then Maracyn. Again, lost the second Otto at that time, and OG still had all of her tail. Nimbus perked up for a little bit, but soon turned for the worse again. By the week of the move, he was knocking on death’s door, and I feel very bad that I didn’t have any time to get supplies to put him down humanely before he had suffered so much, but that is just how it went. You can see in his pictures that in February he was a very beautiful fish, and he slipped so far so quickly after that, it breaks my heart. I wish I knew for sure what actually killed him, but with a fast-growing tumor in the mix, I’m thinking there’s every possibility that his body was too weak to fight anything off, with or without the help of medication. Very long story short, I need help. I’m confused, frustrated and weary of the perpetual fin rot. Should I try to medicate again? Leave it alone? If anyone has some tips, I’m all ears! ”OG” Otto, from side OG again the larger of my new ottos, both of these had perfectly formed tails going into the tank littler new Otto full tank view Nimbus, February 25th April 12th, I think during medication, RIP Nimbus
  3. I have some new Oto's that poop non stop, but this turd is next level. Is this size of a poop normal? The photo isn't clear but the length was easily 4-5x's the length of the body. I have read these guys go a lot, but...is there something wrong here? They have only been in the tank about a week and a half. Thanks for any and all input.
  4. Trying to release oto, he wouldn’t let go of net, tried pealing him off with micro towel, now he won’t let go of that. Suggestions???
  5. Hi Folks, My daughters and I recently started a new planted tank. The tank was cycled and ready for life, and we decided to add some oto's (3) to help with the brown diatoms. Shortly after, one of the oto's looked like someone sprinkled salt on it (ich). We turned up the temp to 81 and treated the tank, however we still lost 2 of the 3 oto's. We both want to avoid this from reoccurring and are looking into getting a quarantine tank for new fish. What is a good quarantine tank size? Should I set up a second planted tank with shrimp as a quarantine tank? What is an appropriate quarantine time before adding fish to the main tank? Thanks in advance.
  6. Background: This morning I discovered that my daughter's 10g plated tank was leaking, and not just a little bit. We removed all the fish, and then my husband proceeded to dump them into my 20g planted tank. I tested and changed water (30%) in the 20g tank yesterday. This morning, before transfer, water parameters were 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, 20 Nitrates. In addition to the fish, I moved three of the plants from the 10g to the 20g. The plan is to get a new tank but the setup and cycling won't happen overnight. All of the filter media and hardscape are currently sitting in a bucket of tank water. Here are my concerns: My 20g planted has only been cycled for a few weeks. Even a mature tank that small would take a hit from adding so many new fish at once. I added a dose of Stability and a dose of Prime as a precaution. Is there anything else I can/should do to minimize the inevitable ammonia/nitrite spike? I am worried about the otos. Platies also like to peck at algae so now there are 5 otos and more competition for food. I add zucchini and green beans a couple times a week but the platies like the veggies too. The platies also eat all of the Repashy Soilent Green so the otos never get any. (platies are the golden retrievers of the fish world). Any advice for getting enough food for the otos without ending up with chubby platies? Fish transferred: 4 adult platy -Rocket, Diamond, Chicken, Sparkles 2 juvenile platy - Cheetah, Dart 2 fry - so small they are still clear 2 otocinclus - Schmendrick and Dr. Marsh Fish already in 20g tank: 1 adult platy - Baby Shark 6 juvenile platy - Spot, Glitter, Clementine, The Silver Surfer, Kirk, Spock, Red Shirt 3 otocinclus - Tony, Ray, and John Wick (the clean-up crew)
  7. Hi everyone, I am new here, but have been lazy keeping a 10 gallon tank for a few years. About 2-3 weeks ago, I transferred from a leaking 10 gallon to another 10 gallon. Kept most tank water and filter mesh, but changed the gravel and carbon filter. Added flourish tabs under the gravel and planted with corkscrew vallisineria and elodea. Transferred 2 Otocinclus (3rd passed), 1 remaining elderly guppy (would like not to keep those any longer), 3 Harlequin rasboras, 1 assassin snail, and a few pond snails for him to eat (he may not have any left). When I noticed the Otos sucking on the val, I tossed in a fistful to float - to my daughter's dismay. She hates floaters. Tank temp is in upper 70's. Not sure temp strip or heater is very accurate. Heater set to 75 but I think it is slightly warmer. Had BBA in old tank and came along with the move. Have Excel, but never used. I was concerned about the Otos having enough to eat in the "new" tank, so had been adding pealed cucumber, fresh spinach, and recently fresh chopped Kale continually. They eat the cucumber and spinach regularly, but the Kale took a day or two. About 4 days a go we noticed the Otos had the zoomies. Never noticed before and thought it odd they waited weeks after the move if it was just stress. Tetra strips show less than 20 nitrate (still safe, but slightly pink). Incoming tap water shows some nitrate here too. No Nitrite, Very hard water, no chlorine, moderate to ideal alkalinity. Neutral PH. Read online that Otos sometimes behave this way, so did nothing. I just recently watched the Aquarium Coop video about bubbles being an indication of medication or a problem in the tank. About 3 days ago notices bubbles. Test strips showed the same results as usual. I changed only 1 gallon tank water for room temperature filtered water (filter removes chlorine). Then added Top fin bacteria starter that I had no hand for good measure. The next day I ran out to PetSmart for an API test kit, but ammonia reads 0. This morning it seamed the foam was worse. Otos still occasionally zoom, but have calm periods too. I retested, nitrate and ammonia unchanged. But foam seemed a little less after I removed the softening cucumber and final bits of spinach. I left the kale as they just seemed to start eating it. Later my husband noticed the entire water surface was covered with a thin layer of bubbles. A little later still the bubbles had increased. See attached photo. I thought maybe the bubbles deceased after I opened the tank lid to take a picture, but I was not sure. Have I just never noticed this? Does softening cucumber cause bubbles - not ammonia? What do I do? FYI I have a 39 gallon, unheated, dirted aquarium growing plants (and pond snails), but I need to redo it because I did not use a sufficient sand cap and dirt is everywhere. I plan to move the heater with the fish at some point. I'm just dreading the drain, breakdown, addition of sand, rocks, wood, plants . . . Then do I still have sufficient bacteria?
  8. Hi all, new here and I tried to find a similar post so forgive me for starting a new one if there was a more appropriate place to be- posted on the introductory page a bit about what I have as far as tanks/equip/fish etc. When I started my 20 gallon I just wanted a peaceful community tank with fish that had similar parameter needs of course and I didn't want reproduction, so I avoided live bearers and "easy breeders". I ended up with 10 Harlequin Rasboras and 7 Otocinclus. Well about 6 months into my endeavor I now have 25 baby catfish and counting. I know some have fallen prey to the Rasboras which is ok, that's nature, but I've managed to contain the 25+ in a floating breeder box (boy am I glad I got that for "back up" plans). I seem to catch 1 or 2 daily in varying stages of develoment. Of all the hours and hours of research I did I didn't look into this because I never thought I'd be able to breed what is sometimes called on the internet an "intermediate level" breeder: now what?! I started another 20 gallon which I plan to likely house my Rasboras and I'll up the number of Otos in my well established algae covered tank where they bred- I have 1 friend who also keeps fish and she's taking a half dozen. This isn't likely to stop happening so can anyone give me ideas on how to rehome fish? Thank you in advance for your ideas!
  9. So I put 6 of my home grown Otos in my "Angry Man" tank. They've been in there a few months. Used to see them quite a bit on the sliced cucumber I leave for them, rarely on the hikari algae wafer (mind they were all raised on both). I don't see them often otherwise and recently less than that. Because of the existence of those two foods my bladder snail population has exploded (not to unmanageable stages but absolutely more than I would like). I remove them from the tank when they are in large groups on the foods but they just keep coming. My 3 horned Nerites do a good job of keeping back algae and occassionally munch on the cucumber. The Black Neons even poke at the Hikari. Today I saw one of the Otos flashing around the bottom of the tank, not swimming right. After a long car chase I was able to HAND CATCH the little one who was put in isolation. Shortly thereafter they passed. 😞 There was no outward signs of illness. The only thing of note was a less than rounded belly and instead of being white it was pink-ish as if from the inside not outside. My sad thought is that it died of starvation? My concern with this tank is that maybe I can't put anymore algae eaters in here- maybe I should pull my Otos (if I can catch them)- and put them back in general population of the Accidental Oto tank. I spotted 2 of them, who were attached to wood and seemed ok at the time, no idea where the rest were camping out- my Otos tend to be nocturnal. They have no competition for food in the Accidental Oto tank- I think there's too much competition in the Angry Man tank. What do my forum friends think? Should I move the Otos out? Pic of the Angry Man tank for reference attached. (2nd pic is more recent)
  10. Sorry if this isn’t the right section. Right now I’m kind of freaking out. I couldn’t find one of my ottos this morning after a late night water change, but didn’t have much time to look because I had to go to work. I figured that he might just be hiding, but the behavior still seemed off since I usually see the three of them hanging out together. Cue me coming home eight hours later, and I still can’t find the wayward Otto. Starting to freak out and feeling like a bad fish mom, which was only intensified by the worry I had all day. I looked all over the place (floor,tank, water change bucket) and couldn’t find him. Eventually I looked around the side of the tank and saw him wedged against a rock and the glass with my phone light, which is someplace I had already looked a ton but he blended in. He couldn’t move at all, completely wedged in. I have a feeling he did this during my water change yesterday since it was later than usual and I had to turn the light back on and everyone in the tank had a minor freak out. I loosened the rock and he wiggled out and attached to the glass at the front of the tank. It looks like his tail fin got torn up, along with his belly since it was against the rock. Really hoping he can recover and there isn’t any organ damage. What are other’s opinions on how he looks? Link goes to video. He’s currently breathing pretty heavily. link: https://imgur.com/gallery/v3mcTLH
  11. So as of this morning two out of three of my Otocinclus have died 😢 I know Oto's ate notorious for it but even so I thought they were doing ok, they've been in for about 5 weeks already. After the first one died a couple weeks ago I was worried about the smaller of the remaining two, though they always had round bellies and constantly grazing (I leave lots of algae for them - I'm not just lazy honest) it didn't seem to be growing and was very slender aside from its belly so I was half expecting it. I have high hopes for the remaining one as it's the only one of the three that has grown noticeably and is chonky all over not just a round belly, thing is do I risk adding more? Don't want to keep one on its own but don't want to keep killing them either. I will test parameters again later today but last time everything was the same as usual and both times there was no obvious sign of illness or injury. Any oto experts around?
  12. Pays to watch Cory's YT videos. Previously, I had seen videos recommending schools of Otocinclus. And it was fun to watch them all scoot across the tank. But I just saw a video where Cory recommends far fewer depending upon the size of your tank. I had 6 in my 45g and have now reduced to 3 in 45g, 2 in 20g, and 1 in 10g. Will probably eliminate the 1 in the 10g as I really don't need him there at this time. I'm constantly trying to educate myself with all the information that is now available that wasn't even hinted at 45 yrs ago. Thanks to Cory and Others at Aquarium Co-op.
  13. pH - 6.5 Nitrates - 0 to 5 Hardness - 5 Nitrite - 0 Ammonia - 0 KH/Buffer - 5 Water Temperature -78 In a 60 gallon with 14 Rainbow Praecox and 5 other Otos, any idea what this is? I'm guessing fungal.
  14. Very late entry to Summer Olympics. Zucchini Surfing…
  15. Apologies in advance for a story: On 8/1 I went to my LFS and purchased 3 Oto Cats for my heavily planted shrimp tank. I got them home and placed them in a 5 gal quarantine tank (with a cycled sponge filter I keep in one of my other thanks at all times, heater set to 76, tank parameters: ammonia and nitrates 0, nitrates <5, ph 7.2) When I got them home 1 was skinnier than the rest and lethargic. That one wouldnt eat, while the other 2 happily munched away on lettuce and zucchini- no surprise 2 days(8/3) later I woke to find my skinny fish had passed away. I know Oto Cats are often underfed/ underweight after shipment and treatment in fish stores, so I didn't really think much of it and went back to the store for a replacement. They gave me a new fish however the tank the original (now 2) fish came from is in quarantine so my new fish came from a different tank. The employee told me that they have "protozoa" and I should treat my fish with nox-ich for 3 days. All 3 are happily eating and schooling in my quarantine tank. I treated yesterday when the 3rd fish arrived home with a dose of ich-x, and paracleanse (since they are primarily wild caught my mind went to parasites, and I assumed I'd be doing daily water changes due to ich-x so I postponed adding maracyn). The only symptoms I could say they have would be that they (all 3) lightly clamp their fins/ lay them down when at rest though I think from my research this may just be how they "rest"? They wriggle around all over their lettuce leaf that I suppose could be flashing but it looks more like they are trying to find the perfect spot on the leaf to start muching. I'm not very familiar with their behavior to be certain of either, but I have no doubt they were exposed to something. My questions are- 1. Anyone with Oto Cat experience that knows if at rest they retract their fins like this? 2. Should I treat with each med individually as if they are "sick" (treat with ich-x daily with 30% water changes x5ish days, then complete 1 week maracyn, and somewhere in there dose with paracleanse again) OR since they are showing few to no symptoms should I just add maracyn and let them quarantine with the trio x1 week. 3. Any advice on the whole "not feeding " in quarantine for these little guys? Seems like they don't tolerate it for long and usually not feeding for 3-4 days in quarantine is standard. Thanks for any help! I'd love to see all 3 of these guys happy and healthy in my tank.
  16. Hi all - what are your thoughts about putting in 10 red cherry shrimp in a 15 gal with 4 otos? I supplement the existing algae with a daily algae wafer, and the otos seem to be doing good with that. That said, I had no idea how voracious the otos were with respect to algae!!! They crushed all of the algae overgrowth in a matter of days. Are the shrimp the same way? The tank is planted (Anubias nana, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus, and Staurogyne Repens), and also has a few white cloud and glow light tetras, so they get flake food. Would love your thoughts and wisdom… thanks!
  17. I purchased a group of oto and in the process of transferring them to the tank several managed to get their nose stuck in the netting. I've given them an hour to work their way free and tried gently moving the net and tugging the fishes but they are still stuck. Any suggestions as to how to free them ?
  18. Fresh vegetables seem to do wonders in breeding them; as you can see in the pic the fry are constantly on/around the zucchini, squash, spinach, and mulberry leaves I put out. It's a community tank, so the shrimp like them too. I noticed and got footage of the oto breeding dance on 3/15, so the fry in the attached pics are roughly two months old. I have seven surviving that I have counted concurrently, but there may be more hiding out.
  19. I had about 2 dozen ottos in planted community tank that, over the course of about year, all disappeared. I started feeling guilty that perhaps I neglected feeding them enough, even though I have been feeding Repashy super green somewhat regularly. I thought maybe they were stressed by all the other rambunctious fish (lots of barb species). Or maybe they are just as fragile as people say. I thought -- am I really just using these like a disposable cleanup crew? Clean up the algae outbreak, then good luck to ya, you're on your own. However, in the middle of last night, I had to grab something from the room where my aquarium sits. When I turned on the light, there were all the ottos -- I quickly counted at least a dozen -- lounging around on sword leaves, manzanita wood branches, hanging off the glass. What gives? Why do they snub me all day long and then wait till I'm fast asleep to come out and party? (Hmmm . . . come to think of it . . .where the heck are my corys? I know there is at least 2 dozen of those ever multiplying little buggers in there!)
  20. Hi all, new member here! I was just wondering, I've read and been told that it is common for otocinclus to die within the first few weeks of arriving home. I know on Aquarium Co Op the reason stated is that once otos are starved beyond a certain point they lose their appetite and then they're as good as dead. However, another reason I've heard online for this is that otocinclus rely on a symbiotic relationship with gut bacteria, and during shipping (slash time at neglectful pet stores) the gut bacteria can die off if they're starved for too long. So apparently even when they come home and they're eating the food you give them, since their gut bacteria died off they can't actually digest the food they're eating, and they die. They're full but at the same time they're unable to absorb any of the nutrition, so they starve and die. I have found lots of people on forums and care guides stating this, but I've tried and tried and haven't found any scientific papers or been able to find who actually discovered this about otos. I was just wondering if any of you know of the source of the knowledge that otocinclus rely on a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria in their gut to digest their food? A lot of you are so much more experienced than I am, am I just looking in the wrong places? At this point I'm starting to question whether someone just made this up to account for mysterious deaths in the first few weeks of bringing otos home, and then it just caught on because people accepted it at face value.
  21. @Colu Full QT Trio plus GC/PC follow up 3 weeks later. 2 have been in the main tanks for several months. Just thought they were getting fat. But now I question what's happening. So this guy is back in QT and just dosed his 2nd dose of Levamisole. No change. What do you think? Disease, fat? That spot has me worried.
  22. Today I was researching otos diets so I could buy the right repashy for them. I'm hoping it will help with getting them to spawn. While looking them up I learned a few things. 1 they are capable of breathing air which is pretty awesome. 2 some species of otos not only school with corys for protection but have evolved to mimic their coloration and patterns. One example is Otocinclus Flexilis which mimics Corydoras Paleatus. I looked up pictures and it's pretty awsome! I thought others might think so as well. I keep C. Paleatus and have had them spawn a few times but now I really want O. Flexilis to go in the tank with them. I've never seen them available in the hobby though. Has anyone seen them for sale?
  23. I have had my fish for about 2.5 weeks. I have a betta, some lamb chop rasboras, and three otos. Everything has been fine except that the last few days I noticed that one of my otos rarely moves and just lays around on the bottom of the tank. It is alive as I see its gills move and I have seen it move position in the tank recently. However, I don't think it is eating. The other two have large, round bellies and are constantly eating. This one has a sunken in belly (see oto on top right in the pic). I have algae growing on the plants in the tank and I put in algae pellets for the otos every few days. Any idea why it won't eat and what I could do to get it to eat? TIA! I just did a water change (it was time), but when I checked my water parameters yesterday things looked fine.
  24. Hi everyone, I just started a new 75g tank, and am back in the hobby full force after life got in the way for awhile. Overall, I found the information on the site and aquarium co op videos very helpful, and the customer service has been good, especially Candi dealing with a shipping issue we had. I setup the tank with plants from some of my other tanks and ones purchased here. Once I had some algae, I added a small about 6 otos and 6 corys, as well as 2 small SAE. Now at least of my two of my Otos have some sort of white markings, almost like a bite was taken out. It is white, but definitely does not look ick related. The odd thing is the behavior of the fish seem perfectly normal, they are cruising around on the leaves and glass and have taken out the little algae I had with relative ease. The tank has no ammonia, no nitrite and very little nitrate, I've tried to let the plants do the work and help cycle the tank. I'm wondering if I should treat, or let them be and see if they heal. I'm a little stumped, and I a little disappointed this has come up so quickly, when trying to do everything correct. I'd rather not medicate a new tank and disrupt anything. Any advice and thoughts are great appreciated, Thanks.
  25. I got three Otocinclus vittatus on Saturday and they seem to be doing well so far. They are from a person who bought them to help his diatom problem and they did the trick. Now I have them because I think their personalities are great and they have the added bonus of being algae eating machines, from what I hear! I have them in a 16 gallon with a lot of diatoms and minor string algae (it's a month old set up). They haven't taken to eating any diatoms yet but their bellies are plump and they are active as all get out. Do you think they may just be full and that's why they aren't eating the diatoms? Could it be that they haven't fully adjusted to their new digs? They were eating the Xtreme Nano I put in for my Panda Corys so I know they've eaten a little bit. I just want to make sure they'll eat the diatoms and have plenty of them! TIA
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