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Old 05-23-2013, 11:34 PM   #1 
Phantom Miria
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Advice for stocking 20g npt

Hello,

I have a 20g planted tank (although I might as well call it an Ulvaceus tank because that's what took over -.-) with a single adult female betta and 10 nerite olive snails. The tank has been planted for exactly two months now and its levels seem very normal for a npt and I've not had to do a water change for a while. Since it seems established and stable as a tank I'd like to start stocking it, my betta seems a bit lonely. I'm debating over a betta sorority but I am really worried about the females fighting, I don't have room or money for other tanks to put betta's into besides a small 3/4 gallon fishbowl. However I've always wanted some Otocinclus and read that its best to have at least four of them at a time. I've not read of bettas ever having problems with otto's and think this might be a safer route, but I really would enjoy a betta sorority. The safety of my single female betta is my top priority though, shes my girl ;-; So which route would be best to take; taking the chance with a betta sorority or going with some otto's?

Any help is appreciated =)
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:29 AM   #2 
Bombalurina
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First, and most importantly - is your water right for otos? From memory, they prefer soft water with a neutral to acidic pH. If you have hard water, they will not be as happy.

I've had two sororities, and both have worked out well. One was made of girls used to living with each other, with some later additions of different females, the other with totally unrelated females used to being singles. The first went magnificently - no bullying or fighting at all. The second had some initial upset, but a hierarchy was established relatively quickly and there is little more than posturing in my tank these days.

I'm not going to deny that there is an inherent risk in sororities, but my experience is that they are very doable, despite a lot of internet scaremongering. If you can have at least one spare tank, that would be best, but if not, just keep a hold of the cups that you buy your girls in (if you get them locally and not online), as these make decent temporary quarantine cups. Do keep the girls in those cups for a fortnight (whilst floating in the tank and with daily water changes) to make sure they won't introduce any diseases to your current girl.

If you do go for a sorority, there is absolutey no bar to you having otos. I'd have roughly 8 girls and 8 otos. Why not start with the otos and see how your girl tolerates them, then decide from there? :)

Also, why not post a picture of your tank? That way, we can suggest any changes you may have to make to accomodate a sorority. :)
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:24 AM   #3 
Phantom Miria
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Thanks for the response!

My ph has always been sitting around 7.7-7.8 so I think that should be ok.

I think introducing the Otis first would be a great idea, that's how I originally planned it. My girl has been introduced once to a male betta (NOT by me... it was a family member doing it behind my back ) and he almost killed her. Do you really think I should do eight of them though? I would love both otis and betta's but with 8 otis and 8 betta's would my tank be able to sustain that without being overstocked?
As for the sorority I think I may just give it a try.. I'm wondering though, would my current betta be established as the leader most likely if I introduce younger bettas? If worst comes to worst I'd be willing to buy a small 10g tank, those can be had for pretty cheap.

Here is a picture of my tank;



As you can see its sponge filtered, heated, has good air flow and a few places to hid. The lighting is just over a year old and rated at 10k I believe. Its got a red tiger lotus growing to the right of the rock in the center (growing very slow), some java fern and razor sword. The Ulvaceus is obviously growing in the center and currently has three blossomed flowers. Unfortunately the corkscrews and frogbit all died. I do plan on adding more plants. I think if I was going to add a lot more betta's I would want to add some more hiding spots. Other than that my girl has been extremely happy in her home and is always exploring. Despite her confrontation with a male betta quite a while ago, she has a very happy and friendly personality.

Also if anyone knows how to get ulvaceus to spore out or reproduce, I'd really like to know, its my favorite plant.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:16 PM   #4 
Bombalurina
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7.8 is on the high side - between 5.5 and 7.5 is an otos ideal. Do you know your water hardness?

I don't think it would be overstocking once you plant more heavily. In my tank, I have:
- 3 killifish
- 4 cories (soon to be 8)
- 4 female bettas (will be 6)
- 12 Endlers livebearers
- 6 kuhli loaches
- 1 BN pleco
Sure, I'm on the high side of stocking, but it's manageable. 8 otos and 8 bettas (or fewer, if you prefer, but no less than 6) would be fine.
However, you will need to decorate A LOT more heavily. As you can see from my tank (picture attached) you need many more hiding spaces than you currently have. The otos will also appreciate more plant life - they can be quite delicate for the first month and may also have a hard time accepting algae pellets, so make sure you breed some real algae for them. You can do this by putting some aquarium rocks in a tub of tank water on the windowsill where the sun can get them.

It is by no means definite that your girl would be the alpha simply because the other girls are younger. Sororities change a lot over time - my second-in-command used to be the fourth, my third used to be sixth. One thing you must remember about sororities is that they are unpredictable, so make sure that you know your fish really well so that you can anticipate or react swiftly to change. :)
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:08 PM   #5 
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Thanks for the reply!

I do not know my hardness but I can lower the PH with an additive. I'm moving soon to Colorado and I know the water is a LOT softer there. That's quite a tank you have there! You have to remember this is my first tank and first planted tank so I've learned a lot and still am, but I'd love to stock it with more plant life. What plants do you suggest to help add hiding spots? I really like just about everything in you're tank. I also noticed you have a white and red betta in there. I thought you were supposed to get female bettas of the same color?

When you say a tub of tank water are you telling me to get some water from the aquarium, put it in a tub and let it sit? I have a friend who is BIG into aquariums, he has a few 100+g tanks. I'll ask him for some plants, algae, etc. I'm sure he can help me out =)

I'm pretty sure I'll try out the betta sorority. Buying a 10g tank isn't going to be so bad and if the females all get along, I've always wanted a really nice male CT.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #6 
RussellTheShihTzu
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Adding some driftwood will slowly lower your pH. But beyond that, don't mess with it. It's the stability of pH that's needed; fish can adapt to higher or lower pH than recommended but even not to swings.

Lovely tank, BTW; both of them!
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:52 PM   #7 
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Where do you get driftwood? So ph lowering chemicals are a bad idea?
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:01 PM   #8 
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I think so, yes. They're like a temporary fix.

You can find driftwood in pet stores or online. I bought mine on eBay. He carries many different sizes including those small enough for 5-gallons (I know you have a 20 ).

http://stores.ebay.com/Susquehanna-D...p2047675.l2563
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:24 PM   #9 
Phantom Miria
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Hmm, it looks very nice and actually sounds like a great idea but a lot of these plants are in an EXTREMELY delicate state and I can't afford to rearrange my tank right now. My Red Lotus is currently rooting pretty deeply and I am doing my BEST not to disturb it (that Red Lotus fries my nerves every day). My Ulvaceus keeps uprooting, my razor swords seem like they are on the brink of life or death and my java ferns are finally starting to grow new petals that are not dead. I feel like every time I water change it puts more stress on the plants. Definitely not my betta though she comes right up to the siphon -_-

Is there no other way to help lower my PH and will Otto's absolutely not survive in 7.8 ish ph?
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:41 PM   #10 
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According to everything I've read on planetcatfish, otos only need the lower pH to breed; they do fine in 7.8 but that's about the upper limit. On that site (and others) it's stressed otos are extremely sensitive to changing pH; not the pH level itself.
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