A couple days ago I added a Otocinclus Affinis and 2 ghost shrimp to my betta tank. My question is, how do I know if the Otto and ghost shrimp are getting enough to eat?
Also, while researching this I've read that if needed you can add vegetables like spinach, zucchini etc to the tank as a food source for the Otto and shrimp, but won't this rot and cause ammonia in the tank? I don't want to jeopardize my betta's health or mess up my finally cycled tank by adding rotting veggies.
I also read there are "algae waffers" that you can buy to supplement but how do you now if you need to supplement at all? If I use algae waffers, will the Otto and shrimp stop eating the algae? If they stop eating the algae or fish waste then what was the point in getting them?
When you feed blanched fresh veggies-you need to remove and replace about every 24 hours to prevent water quality issues....With that said....Otos are social fish and tend to do best/thrive in large groups in a mature heavy planted tank of at least 20gal or larger-They are small fish but really active and don't be surprised to find spawning activity when kept in the thriving conditions....
It's funny, I researched and read all the threads about "acceptable tank mates for bettas" including the ones here and Otto's kept coming up as great to add to a betta tank, yet not once was it mentioned that they needed to be in 20 gallon tanks nor did it ever mention they needed to be in groups. Now that I've bought one, those specifics keep popping up. Very frustrating.
But back to the original question, how do I know if I need to supplement or if they are getting enough to eat?
Observation......are they eating or are you seeing them eating or visiting the food offered and how long they stay on the food source, does the food look like its been eaten, tummies look round, behavior WNL for the species, pooping...etc....
It can be very frustrating since there are so many different ways/opinions on keeping different species of fish. Since we will never be able to give them the exact environment/water volume they naturally came from we have to try and meet needs the best we can in our home.
By having a better understanding of the species behaviors, habits and general needs-we can successfully keep them in a thriving environment.
Thanks OFL, Well, I've only had them 3 days so I'm not sure what normal behavior is. There was some algae on my plants and the front of the tank glass, which is now gone. So now that that's gone, I was wondering if I needed to supplement the ottos food or if there is algae I'm not seeing that the Otto can survive on. He seems to be all over the tank, sometimes on the plants sometimes on the sides. There are a lot of surfaces for the algae to grown on but I don't actually see it and I hate the thought if the Otto starving, which apparently is something they die of quite often according to sites I've read. My quandary is....I don't want to supplement if not needed because then I'm afraid they will stop eating the algae, on the other hand I don't know if there is enough algae in the tank for them to thrive on. I guess it's all trial and error, I just don't want a living being to be my "guinea pig" or suffer due to my ignorance
The aquarium will never have enough of the species of algae for a single Oto to survive on. They don't eat all species of algae anyway....You will need to supplement feed them at least every other day with either algae wafer and/or fresh blanched veggies.
When keeping mixed species with a Betta-feeding can sometimes be problematic since a Betta can be little pigs and try to eat any food placed in the tank and in turn the Betta eats themselves sick...little buggers....lol....With that said....you have to find a way to feed the other species so they get the food and the Betta doesn't eat itself to death and that can be a challenge sometimes.....
Sometimes you can add the algae wafer in about an hour after lights out and/or in an area that is harder for the Betta to get to-then remove the any uneaten at lights on, however, sometimes the Betta will get themselves in trouble with their attempt to get that food....sometimes you just have to play around or experiment a bit until you find a method that works-especially in smaller tanks (less than 20gal)
Good grief! Lol, well... I think Mr Otto and his shrimp friends will be given back to the fish store because I just got Gandalf all settled into a good routine, cycled tank, no more swim bladder issues, etc. I think he'll just have to be by himself and I'll clean the algae myself. Thanks for the info OLF, I appreciate you responding because there is a lot of info out there to sift through and apparently I didn't "sift" enough!
So......how do you feel about snails? Lol
Another aspect I researched, but hubby wanted the shrimp and Otto...
What do you think? Would one snail be a better option for algae control?
Personally, I love snails and shrimp-both have an important job in my little ecosystem. I like the common snails-like pond, ramshorn and trumpet snails, however, they can become pest if not kept in check by manual removal on a regular basis.
Both shrimp and snails complete my systems by providing ferts for my plants, eating some species of algae and eating dead and/or dieing plant matter and any leftover food as well as their offspring provide some food source for the fish themselves.
It is normal and expected to have some algae in a container of water that has both light and nutrients and some algae is a sign of a healthy system. It can help make the tank look more natural by softening edges and it provides an area for microorganisms to colonize that can help keep the system healthy as well as provide a grazing area for the livestock. Since this is a closed system-the algae has to be removed manually on a regular basis along with regular water changes-just part of aquarium keeping.....
Rehoming the Otos might be a good idea, however, I would keep the shrimp and even add a snail or two....
Thanks so much OFL, I will see if the PETCO I got the Otto from will take him back, otherwise I'll have to see if I can find someone with a bigger tank. Unfortunately I can't have a bigger tank in my little condo. I'll keep the shrimp for now and see how it goes. Thanks so much for your help.