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New Tank

Peter G. Aitken wrote:

>Alfred asked about what fish to use cycling a new tank.
>I advise against using otos. In my experience they are a rather delicate
>fish and are likely to succumb to the variations inherent in a cycling tank.

Well, as I and several people have pointed out, there should be _very_
little instability in a properly set up planted tank, and no "cycling" in
the traditional sense of the word.  Otos are delicate when they are first
imported, because they are close to starvation.  Don't buy them until
they've been in the store a couple of weeks, and have nice round bellies.
Then they'll do fine.

>>The zebra danios are a much better choice.

What about Zebra Danios makes them a better choice?  First, they don't eat
algae, so must be fed, something you don't want to do in a newly set up
planted tank.  Second, they don't eat algae so there is absolutely _no_
benefit to adding them to begin with.  (remember, your well planted tank is
not going to "cycle" anyway.  Third, they are wicked fast and difficult to
remove.  So don't add them unless you want to keep them there until they
are old, bent and ugly.

The only reason I could think of choosing them is their very low price.  I
don't even think they are pretty when young, though of course to each his own.

Alfred Heng wrote:

> One question, in your opinion, how many ottos, if 
>that is the fish of choice, would you start with for a 180 gal?

I put 12 in my 125G a week after I set it up, and that seemed to be enough.
 I would have put them in sooner, but my LFS didn't have Otos that had been
in the store long enough for me to be willing to use them.  In the mean
time, I got quite a layer of diatoms on things, which the Otos happily
cleared out in one weekend. (talk about bulging bellies!<g>)

Maybe go up to 15 or 16 in your 180?  I also include some SAE's in my
initial algae crew.  4-6 SAE's would probably be adequate for your tank.
They eat different types of algae, so they are not redundant.  I have also
been very happy with the algae eating work of my two Farlowellas in my 70G,
although I have never used them in a brand new tank, simply because they
haven't been around when I needed them.<g>