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We lost our first fish and second fish. =(


Chris2022
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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.         

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Hello,

I'm afraid otos aren't good for the first fish to add to an aquarium.  They need time for biofilm to build up on the tank surfaces.  In fact, I generally recommend people avoid them completely.  The ones available for sale in stores are all wild caught (as far as I know), and have often suffered irreparable harm to their digestive systems before reaching the store.  I tried them a few years ago and went through five before getting one to live, though it's still going strong.

I know that didn't really answer your questions about quarantine tanks, so I'll take a stab at that also.  The typical reason for them is to avoid introducing disease or parasites to existing fish.  Because of that you don't need to quarantine fish in a new tank.  The only reason would be to reduce the amount of medication needed if they need treatment.

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Hi @Chris2022 I'm sorry you lost your Otos. I agree with Jett that ANY bottom feeder should be added last-as most will require a well established tank- but I will also say that it's sadly not unusual for anyone to lose Otos when you first get them. As mentioned they are wild-caught fish and go through quite the stressful trip to the local fish store so loss is sadly not unusual. 

Unlike Jett, I highly recommend them. They are wonderful fish and great algae eaters- but they are harder to get through the first month sometimes two- however they are very worth it. I'd recommend a minimum of 6! They have a very low bioload. 

What I would recommend as far as size for a QT is a 5 or 10 gallon tank. Why? Well both are relatively easy to manage as far as space and water changes. Plus most meds have measurements for 10 gallon tanks. So if you kept a bare bottom tank with a few hides for new fish, maybe even a few plants it would be easy to dose even with a 5 gallon as you could half the meds recommended. 

Now, what to do next you might ask? I'd start with your middle dwellers FIRST when you're ready to add to the tank. Let them settle in for 4-6 weeks and as long as you don't treat for illness and parameters are stable you can start looking at new fish. 

Algae is your friend. Let it continue to grow. Let the tank get kinda "gross" with algae. In the meantime you can get a QT and run a 2nd sponge filter in the main tank. When you're ready for new fish, you can fill the QT, put in that 2nd sponge filter which will start the cycle there- if there are algae eaters take some algae covered items from main tank to give them some food/biofilm to work on. 

The middle dwellers will help establish the cycle even more. You could consider a Nerite snail maybe 2. Don't get too many as they make quick work of algae and DON'T eat commercial foods. 

I would keep any QT fish in that tank for 4-6 weeks unless I treat them for illness which once they've been cured the timer resets. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
Typos are lame
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On 3/2/2022 at 10:06 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I'd start with your middle dwellers FIRST when you're ready to add to the tank. Let them settle in for 4-6 weeks and as long as you don't treat for illness and parameters are stable you can start looking at new fish. 

So we had been thinking neon tetras and a betta.... Should we do the betta first or the tetras? Is there an advantage/disadvantage to one over the other?

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On 3/2/2022 at 2:04 PM, Patrick_G said:

Nice looking tank! 
I’m a big fan of Otocinclus even though many people report having trouble keeping them alive. If you can get some from another source (ick free) I’d give them another try. Theoretically they’ll have a feast on your brown algae. 

I am def going to give them another try. I am a little surprised that they came with ich, since we bought our fish from a local specialty reptile and aquarium shop (no petco/petsmart) and paid a little more than normal. 

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It happens @Chris2022 even from the best shops. My last batch of common Otos I got from an LFS ended up with Ich but they all made it thru treatment and I still really like the store I got them from. Any fish can get it and any tank can have it- it rears its ugly head as an opportunistic parasite when fish are stressed or already ill from something or both!

Anyhow, you'd add your middle dwellers first. Always your most aggressive or most territorial fish are added last. If added first the Betta would feel they had invaders and if it's reversed it's the Betta that's the stranger in the tank and HOPEFULLY decides to be peaceful. 

Some things to consider if you're going for a Betta "centerpiece". I don't do bettas anymore as they are very difficult fish to keep. IF I did it again I would keep them in 80-82 degrees (which doesn't suit all fish), keep the humidity high with a tight fitting lid (maybe even utilize plastic wrap) and use Indian Almond Leaves (Catappa) in the tank at all times. Your other fish are going to have to be ok with that IF you went this evironmental route. 

The other thing to consider....what IF the Betta DOESN'T go with the program and attacks everyone? You have to have a back up plan. Will the LFS take them back (after you've already QT'd them) OR will you get them their own tank (like a 5 gallon) if it doesn't work out? 

Just things to mull over! 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
Typos are lame
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