Introducing The Otocinclus!

I can officially say I am happy with my otocinclus. I really hope I am not jinxing anything by saying so.

Otocinclus, a dwarf sucking cat fish, are notoriously picky when it comes to water parameters, and acquiring some and putting them into your own tank at home can often be a very traumatic experience for these little fish and the chance of casualties is often quite high.

Thankfully though, I am pleased to say that they have been in my tank now two and a half weeks and have settled in amazingly. All four of them are growing, exploring, socialising and maintaining those cute little plump bellies of theirs which is a very good sign of a healthy oto. One of the problems people sometimes find with these fish is that they may unexplainabley lose them, even after they have settled in, due to starvation. Otocinclus act as a very efficient clean up crew, constantly munching on any algae in the tank – whether it be on the glass, ornaments or your plants (they are very gentle with plants and do not harm them). But they are so good at it that when they have eaten it all, they can sometimes accidentally become deprived of food. It is a good idea to help supplement their diet with algae wafers or vegetables. In my tank, algae wafers are not very useful as they get absolutely destroyed by their tank mates, the guppies. But every few days I leave a big chunk of cucumber or courgette in the tank for 24hours and they go bananas over it.

Even if some don’t quite get it! 

When I first acquired these beautiful little catfish, I drip acclimated them for around four hours before I introduced them into my main community tank. (I should have also quarantined them, but I was bad and too excited so I couldn’t wait..).

In order to do this process, I used an empty three gallon tank and released them into this with the water from their bag. Using long plastic tubing, I created suction so that water was pulled up from the main tank and down into their tank. I then attached a pair of pliers to the tubing to make the water flow very slow. After four hours of the main tank water dripping into their little tank, I netted them up one by one and released them into the community. I wanted to net them and not pour them in as I did not want to mix the water from the pet shop with the water in my big tank. The otos seemed really relaxed before I did this, otherwise I may have kept them in the three gallon tank longer – maybe even over night.

The otos are living now in my 19gallon community planted tank with 10 male guppies and one female Siamese fighting fish (betta splenden). This little girlie was added a week after the otos after I realised she much preferred living in the community set up after I had kept her in there for a few days in a breeder box whilst I was acquiring her equipment for her own tank, and after removing her for a few days, felt it best to put her back! A proper update on my girl Impa, will be done at a later date.


Introducing Impa the Siamese Fighting Fish

Yesterday me and Kirby went to the garden centre for fish paroozing and cake (sadly, like we do most Sundays..) and I was feeling slightly sorry for myself as I think I’ve got a chest infection and what was the result of a downhearted Melanie? Why a new betta of course! I wouldn’t normally be interested in the females, usually they are incredibly drab and I’ve always been far more enamoured by male betta fish. But yesterday, I spied myself a beauty. The first time round I didnt even bother looking in the female betta tank as it was blocked from view and I didn’t really care. But on my way out I had a massive urge to go back and see them, and I am so glad I did.

Here she is, my beautiful Impa my impulse fishie.

Impa is going to be living in a breeder box in my planted community tank in the kitchen until I get her a heater to go in her own tank. I have a spare cycled filter and a tank all waiting for her.

After losing quite a lot of her colour on the journey home in the car, Impa has settled in superbly and her colours are brightening up and everyone in the tank has come to say hello.

Impa is a pink and purple veiltail female siamese fighting fish (betta splenden).

Moving tanks

It only took a few weeks, and Jazz has had to move tank. I decided that his 4gallon was definitely too small for him with how active he is, and so he has been upgraded to a 9gallon. At first I was slightly worried that Jazz’s constant movement and what looked to be playfulness, was actually a sign of stress with the move, but seen as he has been with me a few weeks and has greedily eaten everything I have tried to feed him and hasn’t flared once, I’ve decided that this is just who he is. I’m happy to say that he absolutely loves his new bigger tank 🙂

It’s interesting to see that different betta prefer different sized tanks. This 9 gallon is Genie’s old tank before he was moved into a 4gallon when he first developed signs of fin rot. I could tell straight away that Genie preferred the smaller space of the 4 gallon tank, whereas Jazz certainly prefers more room. I would definitely go no smaller than a 4gallon for a betta fish – but it was an interesting exercise all the same.

Introducing Jazz the Siamese Fighting Fish

As an early Christmas present, my boyfriend bought a new betta for me!

This is Jazz, the newest addition to my fish family.

Jazz is a blue and white marble, long eared, halfmoon plakat siamese fighting fish (betta splenden.)

‘Long eared’ describes the long flowing pectoral fins which other breeds of betta splenden don’t possess. It is not a very common fish, but that could potentially change as it may become the next ‘big thing’ for breeders to try and breed into their stock.

Plakat describes the shortened tail, dorsal and pelvic fins, and halfmoon describes the shape.

Marble describes how the colouring has been presented in this breed.

Jazz is living in our bedroom in a filtered and heated 4gallon tank.

To quote Mr Potato Head: “Prepare to meet – Mr Angry Eyes!”

A betta has moved into Spongebob’s house! I hope Gary doesn’t mind…

Less serious post today!

I found this little video online and it cracked me up. Not only is the betta in his little Spongebob house (yes, you heard me right) absolutely adorable, the Japanese woman ‘singing’ the Spongebob theme tune in the background is hilarious. Such a sweet video.


I now reeaally want a Spongebob house for my future female Christmas betta!

Fin rot for Genie

Oh my goodness! Bah! What a stressy few weeks I’ve had!

So it seems that now Genie has developed fin rot! I was so horrified when I first noticed his gorgeous fins starting to fray about 2 weeks ago. I imagine the thing which will have caused it was the stress of sharing his tank with Warrior for the very short time that he did. Part of me wishes that it wasn’t that, because he shouldn’t have had so much of a reaction to it and whilst Warrior was sharing his space, Genie seemed to be the one less bothered by it! 

On the left is how Genie is now compared to how he was a few weeks ago shown on the right. Notice the massive fraying in his fins – both in the tail fin but most dramatically in his dorsal fin.

Another thing…
Genie was put in an already established cycled tank and since I have noticed his fins fraying, the water tests are also showing that his cycle has gone all casquey and he has lost any traces of his nitrates!!* So by the looks of it he has lost his cycle and this could be another major reason for the development of the finrot.

So what to do?
Clean fresh water does poor fins the world of good, so I have been cleaning him out everyday and feeding him his food soaked in garlic juice. (Garlic is amazing for fish immune systems and fish go absolutely bonkers over it). I haven’t been noticing any difference though and his fins are still deterioritating and he is looking so sorry for himself. However his personality hasn’t changed a bit, he is still his beautiful quirky self and so I’m hopeful yet that I’m going to get to the root of the problem and get him on the mend again in no time. With some kind words from my breeder who I purchased Genie off, I have been convinced to start him on a salt treatment (I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about how bad betta can react to tonic/aquarium salt) as he says that Genie will have had a treatment of this before he came to me for general well being and therefore he knows he won’t have a massive reaction to it.

New tank…

And last but not least he has been moved. I decided this evening that his stubborn white foggy water which I assume is around due to a bacteria bloom as the tank cycles again, wasn’t doing him any good. I feel it has been around too long and I wanted him a new completely clean tank. Because there could be something in his tank which is causing the rot that is living in his rocks or something that I am not able to get rid of simply by doing his water changes. His tank will get completely scrubbed down and he will move back when he is well again. So he has been placed in a smaller, hospital tank and hopefully I will start seeing improvements soon. 

I have everything crossed to pray that he will recover.

* If you haven’t a clue what I mean by the ‘cycle’ of a tank and when I talk about the prescence of nitrates, then I’ll give a quick explanation of what I mean. For a tank to be a healthy environment for fish to live in, the tank has to go through the nitrogen cycle. This is why lots of fish experts advise letting a tank run with it’s filter going for WEEKS and sometimes MONTHS before purchasing fish. This gives the filter chance to establish healthy bacteria so that the water is not toxic for the fish. Ammonia (which is present due to fish waste and food waste) is toxic to fish. In a fish’s natural environment, this would have little to no effect but in a tank it eventually builds up to dangerous levels. Given time the bacteria will convert the ammonia into nitrites as it oxidises (which is slightly less toxic but still dangerous at high levels). Eventually a different type of friendly bacteria will develop and help turn the nitrites into nitrates. Nitrates in high numbers (over 40ppm for goldfish and over 20ppm for a lot of other fish like betta) are harmful, but with a small level is completely fine and with a reading of 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm NitrIte and <40ppm NitrAte, then you have yourself an establish cycled tank ready for fishies.

Happy Anniversary

Today is mine and my boyfriends anniversary. I love you with all my heart, Kirby. He is the best thing I could ever ask for and he puts up with all my crazy fish obsessions. In fact, he openly encourages it 🙂

This was one of his gifts to me…

(From left to right: Loki, Warrior, Me, Pockets [who’ll be introduced in my next post] and Genie)

I wish I really could swim with my fish.

More of Kirby’s art can be seen here at or