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Old 02-13-2012, 08:45 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Oto Catfish with betta in 5 gal?

Hey, I have my betta fish in a 5 gallon tank with quite a few live plants (though all rather small) and recently the tank has been accumulating a lot of algae. I wouldn't be concerned but the algae is growing all over the plants and I'm afraid if I don't clean them off every few days they're not going to get enough light to survive. Plus, they look kinda gross with all that algae all over 'em. I figure the bioload in my tank is pretty high considering I need to add fertilizer to keep the plants alive. I was thinking about getting one or two otos to put in the tank but I had a couple of questions.
  • How many can I keep in the tank being that I have a filter and the tank is cycled and heated (though usually around dorm heat)? Would this be enough of them to keep them happy?
  • Would they coexist peacefully with my betta fish? I've never had any other fish in the tank with him and I'm not sure how to handle the situation if they don't get along.
  • Is there a better alternative? I had been thinking shrimp but I'm afraid my tank would boil them.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:03 AM   #2 
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It's not recommended to keep other fish with a betta in a 5.5 gallon. You could get shrimp and keep them in your tank. The high temperature wouldn't cook them. Some bettas hunt down and eat shrimp though.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:47 AM   #3 
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Location: Hickory, NC (USA)
Oto's are also schooling fish do best in sets of 5 or more.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:41 AM   #4 
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Nerite Snail. Those things eat algae. And a lot of it. xD
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:51 AM   #5 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bay Shore, NY
Since you have a 5 gallon you are stuck with snails and shrimp as tankmates. However, algae eaters don't eat all algae. If you have blue-green algae then snails and shrimp work equally well. If you have hair algae then you would be better off with shrimp than snails but both would work. If you have brown algae or hard green algae then nothing eats that and you have to clean it off yourself. I think you are better off changing the tank's lighting then buying alage eaters. Especially if you can't recognize the type of algae in your tank and you don't want to increase your bioload.

If you aren't lighting you tank at all, find a bulb that is Daylight and rated for 5500-6500K depending on the plants you have. If you have the right light for your plants, they will get much bigger and out compete your algae for nutrients. Once your algae can't get nutrients faster than your plants the algae will die off. It will never go away comepletely but it won't take over your tank and plants.

If the bulb is Daylight but below 5500K that could explain the algae. Algae survive much better in little to no light compare to other plants and would "win" against your other plants for nutrients. So your tank would be over grown with algae. Since you plants aren't dead, I would suggest getting a bulb that is only 5500K if this idea is right.

If the bulb is Daylight and 5500-6500K then you may be leaving it on too long. I have that problem because I use a 5500K bulb because I like the way low light plants look. But algae loves low light which makes my tank a haven for algae if I leave the bulb on for more than 10 hours each day. If this idea is right, cut back your photo hours to only 8 hours a day.

If you have a Daylight bulb that is over 6500K then you may have a highlight bulb for medium to low light plants. I know some plants will have stunted growth and become a breeding ground for algae if they get too much light too long. If this idea is right, then cut the kelvins back to 6500K. I know there are 10000K bulbs out there, but you don't need much more than 6500K for most plants to thrive.

If none of my suggestions apply to your set up, then you may be stuck with algae. ^_^;
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:10 AM   #6 
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Hey, I think its definitely brown algae that I have (with maybe green algae accumulating on some of the walls of the tank) but I'm partially color-blind and greens/browns are my weakness. How can I tell what kind of bulb I have? I just used the one that came with my hood.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:03 PM   #7 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bay Shore, NY
If you are using the light that came with your hood, and the greenish algae is hard to scrap off the tank then you are better off buying a new light than buying a tank mate. You can get shrimp or a snail for the green algae if you want, but the brown algae won't be eaten.

The box and bulb will have the Kelvin rating listed. I use Zoo Med Flora Sun for low light plants and Zoo Med Ultra Sun is available for high light plants. Those lights have the Kelvin and type of light displayed on the box. You can also get Flourescent bulbs from Walmart for cheap. I'm not sure which type of light to suggest until I know what your plants need. There's no point to blasting your tank with 6500K if your plants only need 5500K. :) Do you know what type of light your plants need? If not do you know their names?
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