I had been supplementing with some veggie rounds (algae wafers I guess?) but he didn't seem to be eating them, and then I missed a water change and the algae in the tank exploded so I haven't been giving him any for the last couple weeks while I tried to find the time to take care of that. Right now my biggest problems in the tank are brown algae on the plants, and an enormous amount of green stringy/cloudy/clingy bits taking over a portion of the wall and most of the driftwood, I've scraped some of that off now, though.
He's currently hiding so I couldn't tell you if he's looking skinny, but I can tell you he's put on a couple millimeters of length since I got him, he was about 3/4in when I got him, now he's a little over an inch
He won't eat the hair algae, but the brown diatoms should be providing him with plenty of food. Veggie rounds (if they are the Omega Ones I'm thinking of) have meat protein and are no good for otos- their bodies are not meant to process this type of protein. They have the long intestines of obligate herbivores- meat (insect, seafood, etc) can rot in their bodies by the time it is passed- this is why carnivores have shorter intestines.
Try some blanched zucchini- hang it or clip it to the tank walls. Don't be surprised if it takes him awhile to get to it. It usually takes a day before otos start eating the zucchini. Spinach is good, too. If you want to try commercial foods, try Repashy's Super Green (my otos adore this stuff!) or there's a Nutrafin spirulina tablet that's vegan as well.
I think if you try supplementing his diet, he just might leave off your betta's fins. Maybe he gets bored of the same old meal- oh, diatoms again <sigh>... Hey look, there's a yummy betta!
I am a wee bit confused. A 50% water change on that small of a tank takes me 3-10 minutes total. I work more then full time and have two kids (4&8)100% of the time yet I can do weekly changes on 9-10 tanks which only takes me a portion of one weekend afternoon. I am sure if you get organized you can actually find 10 minutes per week to devote to tank cleaning. I think your algea is a result of perams that are off due to not taking care of the tank. Take a little time and asses your time and organize. I've been to college...I know how demanding it is. however 10 can be found I promise.
Also make sure your oto is eating. Feed him weekly to suplement the algea to avoid a hungry kid nipping at his roomie looking for food ;)
They are the omega ones. That explains why my betta keeps nibbling at the darn things. That also explains why the oto's been hanging around the clean side of the tank when there was a huge amount of algae on the other side. I'll look into clearing that up more thoroughly then. I'll look into the commercial foods and give him a bit of zucchini till then. I read somewhere that oto's will also eat dead bits of aquarium plants, but I'm pretty done trusting my sources and about one more bit of wrong oto info away from flipping a table, so could someone confirm that?
Sorry, I missed your post, agent, we must've posted at the same time. It's not so much I lack the time as I do the energy I guess? I work at a theme park summers and we're constantly short handed, so those of us who actually know what we're doing end up working 6-7 days a week, with 6-9 hour shifts that can go to 12 hours if its busy. When I get home I usually have enough cognitive ability that I can just about manage not to brain myself on the front door. I normally do the weekly water change on my day off, but it's not always every seven days, so occasionally I miss a week here or there. I'd get my family to help on the weeks I can't, but honestly I trust their competence with fish slightly less than the average housecat.
The thing I was talking about needing to wait until December is the larger tank I've been considering, because that'll take a lot more time and effort than I can expend during the summer or during a normal week of classes. Just setting up the little five gallon took me two weeks of gathering components and a day and a half of setup. Getting enough plants and the right supplies would take me ages, not even taking into account the fish, I'd definitely need to put that off until I can devote a few solid days of focus to it without having to worry about class or work.
I know my params are off because of missing a water change, it's usually only a day or two after I miss it before the algae explodes again. I'm working on getting on something vaguely resembling a schedule with the maintenance so I can stop missing weeks, but I haven't got much hope until I can find something a little steadier.
This probably came off snippy... Sorry about that. Its not meant that way. I've really got to stop posting this late.
I must be snippy proof lol. I didn't think it was snippy :)
I know what you mean though...I have been so tired that I've had to pour out water over and over again because I couldn't remember if I had treated the water! Ughhh
They are the omega ones. That explains why my betta keeps nibbling at the darn things.
My betta likes them, too. In fact, that's a veggie round in my avatar picture that my VT is trying to schmooze in on. :)
Originally Posted by Esahc
I read somewhere that oto's will also eat dead bits of aquarium plants, but I'm pretty done trusting my sources and about one more bit of wrong oto info away from flipping a table, so could someone confirm that?
My otos have never eaten dead plant bits, and I have never heard of them doing so. There does seem to be a lot of misinformation on these little guys. They are touted as algae eaters, but the types of algae they will eat is pretty limited.
With the zucchini, I slice a whole one up and put the pieces uncooked in the freezer. Then, you can just take a slice out, thaw it in warm water and put it in the tank- the freezing softens the zucchini so you don't have to blanch it.
With the algae- have you tried adjusting your lighting?
okay so no on the dead plant bits, I'll pull those out when I clean the tank tomorrow. gonna give the walls and the driftwood a good scrubbing; pull out all the algae I can get, and cut the lighting again I guess
right now it's got two lamps on timers; one daylight spectrum 13w(i think?) CFL bulb directly on the tank, definately what the algae likes because it's ONLY on that side of the tank. that's on for I think 8/8.5 hours, and one nighttime lamp, a dark green bulb facing away from the tank, on overnight and overlapping with the daylight bulb, about an hour in each direction. I'm thinking of changing the overnight bulb to something else though, it's a bit bright, and honestly, a bit creepy.
As for the Oto, I'll get him on some veggies and stuff, since it looks like he has, indeed, cleared up the brown algae I bought him for, and it's not his fault I didn't know he wouldn't touch the hair stuff.
One last thing though, and I'm asking for brutal honesty here. There's probably no chance of me getting a big enough tank to give him a school for months yet, and my betta does seem stressed even if they seem to be working things out. Aside from petco and petsmart, there's one LFS with some gorgeous tanks, and they really seem to know their stuff, though they're predominately saltwater(and one of the girls did try and tell me a 5gal was too much space for a betta).
Would my oto be happier/healthier if I went to see if they could take him and maybe find him a better home, or should I just keep on trying to give him the best home I can with what I've got? I'm going to see tomorrow if they have any more plants for my tank to hopefully crowd out the algae, while I'm there, should I ask them about their policy on taking fish that aren't doing well?
Do you use ferts for your plants? Many assume that using ferts when one has algae is a bad thing because you just end up feeding the algae. But in many cases, the opposite is true. With added ferts, the plants are able to grow better and they can out-compete the algae, thus starving it of nutrients. Adding more plants is a good idea, too.
Is there any way you can center the CFL over the tank, so all the light isn't concentrated on one side?
Honestly, if you're not going to be able to get more otos, then I think he would be happier if you brought him back and gave him a chance to live with more of his own. Though I can't verify it, I have read of otos supposedly dying of loneliness. And if he's still stressing your betta then a better home for him might be better for all concerned...
Have you looked into Amano shrimp? You could have one in the 5g with your betta. They don't need to be in groups and they aren't as zippy as otos, so much less likely to stress your betta. They get big enough (about 2 inches) that many bettas won't consider them as food. Best of all, they eat hair algae. My 20 was infested with the stuff- I put 4 Amanos in the tank and they went to town on an eating binge.
Talked to my LFS guy, and he said they could take the oto, which I guess will be best for everyone involved. Gonna miss the little derp though. I decided against the amanos because Altair is an aggressive little idiot, and I really don't trust him not to attempt to eat them. The LFS guy did suggest some little....I forget what they are, but they're pretty, like greygreen with iridescent green bits and not sucker fish, and he said they'd graze on the hair algae, but they're also schooling fish, and need 3+, so no room in a 5gal. I'll keep them in mind for if I upgrade to a 10+gal though, they were pretty.
The guy sold me some Florish excel too, so I'm going to try going the lighting and fertilizer route for a bit to see if that doesn't help my problem.
I'll be going back and bringing the oto later today.