The Fish Tank Q&A - 2001

Current Q&A
Frequently Asked Questions re: Bettas ><<<> Water <>>>< Mollies

I would love to hear from anyone on compatible tropical fish, I've had tons kill and eat each other. I have a 33 gal tank, with 1 pleco, 1 male guppy, 1 female guppy, 2 cory's, 2 frogs, 2 ram cichlids, 2 swordfish, 4 neons, 8 white clouds, 4 platy. I would love to have some more bright and larger fish. Please tell me what you think could/would or is compatible. I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could offer me. Please RSVP at Thank you!! Orca
Orca Waters <>
Sooke, BC Canada -

Bigger and brighter fish? Hmmm. How about a couple of gourami's or sailfin mollies? There are some colorful varieties and they are bigger than guppies :) I think those can live with what you have currently.

My mother has an octagonal tank; the flourescent light blew. It is not the bulb. Any ideas where to find just the light fixture - 15 inches by 3 inches? Thanks for any advice.

Try Good luck!

I have a system six self contained aquarium. It has been wonderful for us and easy to maintain. However, I have a Plecostomas that has resided in our tank since 10/98. When we got him/her it was very small, but now has grown to approx. 6" and almost too big for the aquarium. I have no desire at this time to increase the size of the aquarium; what I need to know is what to do with my Plecostomas. I have contacted Petco here in Southern California, but was informed that their policy could not accept fully grown fish returns. I certainly do not want to do anything to harm our favorite fish - Do you have any suggestions???

Well Eric, this is a common problem. Plecos do grow big and it's unkind to keep them in a small aquarium. Perhaps you can find a friend who has an outside goldfish pond.

Well I have some flag fish and need a lot of info on them, like breeding, temp tanks sexing etc...Thanks alot

Females are larger, fuller bodied and more noticeably yellow with a dark patch in the dorsal fin and above the pectorals. Malers are olive to brown gray. Needs a tank with a drak fine gravel bottom, dense planting on the edges and back with swimming room in the center. Suggest that aquarium be placed in a sunny place. Algae should be left on the tank sides. Add fresh water occasionally. Species does not demand special water. Temperature 73-77 F. Lay to 70 eggs over a week or so. Male will not consume eggs or fry but female should be removed. The eggs develop in one week and the fry can be fed micro food.

Hi, I am relatively new to the fish aquarium thing. Had a tank as a child but the tank was adopted so not sure about how to find compatible fish. I have a 10 gallon tank with live plants. The aquarium store clerk told me that I could put a male beta and a female and male dwarf gouramis together and they would get along fine cause they were from the same family. She was Wrong! When I got home today the beta was all flared up and chasing the gouramis all over the place. He is now in a brandy snifter sized glass. I left the light on for the plants but the tank temp has climbed to 84 so I turned it off. Any help would be appreciated..I would hate to kill a fish during my learning process
Kym <>
ON Canada - Mon, August 27, 2001

Yes, bettas and gourami's do not necessarily get along for exactly the reason that the aquarium store clerk stated. The species are too closely related. I don't know how heavily planted your tank is. But if you can grow a lot of plants, the betta won't be as vicious. Bettas have poor eyesight and easily lose track of adversaries if there is a lot of plant cover. This also gives the female betta a place to hang out and avoid persecution. Also think about a twenty gallon tank, the more space the fish have to move around in, the less likely that they will "encounter" each other and have fights. You can keep the betta in the brandy glass, though he'd be happier in a 2.5 or 5 gallon tank with maybe a couple of guppies or small platies as a friends. He'll have someone to chase around who are far too agile for him to catch. As for the 10 gallon light fixture, I'll bet is an incandescent lamp. These run fairly hot. You can only keep the light on for about 4 hours a day otherwise the tank gets too warm. During the winter, you could probably leave it on a little longer and just watch the temperature on the tank. The other choice would be to get a fluorescent lamp which runs cooler. A 20 gallon tank would also solve this overheating from the light problem, if you have the space for it. Good luck and enjoy the hobby.

Hi, I'm looking for information on how to make a homemade fish tank or aquarium. I have a beautiful Koi fish which has outgrown its small tank. Can you help me? Bonnie
sevenseedlins <>
Rexville, NY USA - Tue, August 28, 2001

Try checking out this link
It has quite a bit of information about building aquariums.

You indicate Minature Sunfish are in one of your tanks. What species are these and you indicate they are native. Where in central Florida would be a good place to catch them.
Oviedo, Fl USA - Fri, September 21, 2001

There are several subspecies of sunfish in Florida. You can try the freshwater lakes in Myakka State River Park.

I have begun breeding angelfish. I have a mated pair and they have spawned three times, but I've had great difficulty hatching baby brine shrimp to feed the frye and have lost many fish. I have several questions: First, what is the recommended salinity for the brine shrimp? Does it matter if I use a plastic vs. glass container to hatch them? What temperature do you recommend? I've had it at 82F. How long can I expect them to take to hatch with strong aeration? I've heard from 24 to 36 hours depending on the temperature. What happens if they aren't removed from the brine shrimp "hatchery" promptly? Do you recommend using something else in case you're in short supply of baby brine shrimp to feed the frye? I've used Liquid Frye (for egglayers) but it seems to cloud the hatchery tank excessively. Any other advice you may have would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
Scott Welsh <>
Scranton, PA USA - Sun, September 30, 2001

Try this link -

It has pretty detailed information about hatching brine shrimp for angel fish fry.

Im not having very much luck keeping plecos I have a 55 gallon tank and do a 50% watet change once to twice a month using stress coat according to directions. I only have one pleco but they only live about three to four months. It only takes the pleco two to three days to clean the entire tank then we feed wardley vegetable algae chip every other day at night with one light off. The other fish in the tank are gold fish, mollies. What am i doing wrong and why do you think could be killing the plecos.
Carl <>
Walls, Ms USA - Mon, October 1, 2001

Sounds like your pleco isn't getting enough to eat. Oftentimes a bottom dweller will slowly starve to death in a competitive tank. Put in enough food in the tank to allow the fish to feed for at least three minutes and stir the food into the water so more gets to the bottom.

I added a platy to my fish family, now she had young, and i have the little ones in a different tank could someone please tell me how long before i can put them in with the other fish.(aprox size)
big gina
USA - Wed, October 17, 2001

It really depends on the size of the largest fish you have in your tank. Watch the size of the mouth of this fish. You want to make sure that your largest fish can't easily swallow the young. If you have a lot of floating plants in the tank, you can probably let the young fry in the tank as soon as they have doubled in size as they will have a place to hide. Happy breeding.

I have a 6" pleco and I think something's wrong with him. I can't see any visible slotches on his skin, but his fins appear to be deteriorating. Especially the caudal and dorsal fins. The pectoral/ventral fins appear to be fine. I just put him in a "sick tank" by himself to observe him futher. Water quality is always good. I do regular water changes, etc... None of the other fish (cichlids) seem fine. Please let me know if you have any advise and/or suggestions. Thanks!
shannon <>
Wilmington, NC USA - Sat, October 20, 2001

I'm glad you put the pleco in a sick tank as it sounds like he might have "fin rot" which is contagious. Keep the temperature in the high 70's and treat with anti-bacterial drugs that you can get from the local pet shop for about 6 days. Hopefully, that will make your pleco feel better.

This is a good informative link about fin rot

Which is better, Glass or Acrylic Aquariums?
Downingtown, PA USA - Fri, October 26, 2001

GLASS. Acrylics do look nice but they are 1) Expensive 2) Hard to Clean 3) Scratch easily. If you have an expensive salt water setup and plan on having it professionally taken care of, acrylic is fine.

thank you for your help last time with my baby platy's, they are getting bigger now but i still have them in the other tank, i will wait 2 more days. thank you. my next question is i have also bristle nose cat fish(3) in my tank i know one is a female and one is a male, he has spikes all over his nose, the other is still to young to know what it is, can you please tell me how old he has or she has to be or how i will know when they are ready to breed. i have had her for two and a half years and the other for one and a half years. i have big logs in my tank for them to hide in what am i doing wrong. thanks
big gina
USA - Tue, November 13, 2001

Change the water PH to 7.0 An easy way to do this is by using distilled water. Feed lettuce leaves soaked for four or five days. Good luck.

We have a 50 gallon tank. Why would the water evaporate soooooo fast? There are no leaks that we can see. We fill it to the top and with in a day or two it is down about two inches. Sounds like we have a river going through our living room with the water down so often! Please email me your answer. Thanks, Tammy
Tammy <>
Carbon Cliff, IL USA - Tue, November 20, 2001

This is a strange one. I have the same problem, but it's because I have a live plant that lives in the water that absorbs alot of the water into its roots. Obviously, you ruled out leaks. Is the tank covered with a hood that generates heat? That could be evaporating the water. I see you live in Illinois, is the tank heated? or near a heater or dehumidifier?

After moving a month ago all my fish are dying. I have lost all my black mollies and a dragon goby. I took the necessary precautions when moving. We even had our water tested. There was no ammonia and ph was a bit off so we bought ph stabilzer. The water that comes from our tap comes through a water softening system but still smells strongly of sulphur. Could that be killing my fish? Is there anything to help with the sulphur to help inactivate it? I don't want to lose anymore fish. Help please.
beth <>
marinette, wi USA - Tue, November 27, 2001

Sulfur isn't good for your fish. I'd suggest using purified or distilled water or the bottled water from the supermarket. Once your tank is filled, you'd only need to change 20% of the water once a month to keep it balanced.

Can PVC or Lucite pipe be used as decorations in a fresh water tank without poisoning the fish?
MLHab3062 <MLHab3062>
Winnetka, CA USA - Tue, November 27, 2001

Yes, you can use PVC or lucite in your tank. I'd worry more about a fish getting caught in a tube if it is not big enough for it to squeeze through. :)

I was told that corydoras catfish were laid back fish, but the two that I had darted rapidly to the other end of the tank half of the time that I looked into their tank. The other half of the time I looked into their tank, they acted as if I wasn't there. I really like corydoras cats, but I'm puzzled by these two cats. I had them for six months, and they should have become accustomed to seeing me by then. Paul.
pauln <>
Waldorf, MD USA - Wed, November 28, 2001

If the corys are still young, they will be active and nervous. When they get to be about an inch long they get more sedate. When you feed them do you stir the food into the water so it gets down to the bottom? Perhaps then they will start to associate you with feeding and become less shy. I've been lucky enough to have a breeding pair and its fun watching the young ones antics.

I'd like to know approximately how long a plecostomas might live in captivity. I have mine in a 20 gallon tank with only one other fish (a small tetra). I've had him for 8 years and he's beginning to not look as lively as he used to. Thanks!
qama1 <>
Jasper, GA USA - Fri, December 7, 2001

All fish become less active with age. Plecos are a tough fish and if provided proper husbandry, can live for about 15-20 years. Plecos can live longer than a pet cat or dog :))

Hi, i have a spotted hypostomus pleco and lately he's been faded in color. is this something to be concerned about? if so, what should i do?
new york, ny USA - Sun, December 16, 2001

As fish grow older, they tend to fade in color. This is probably normal.

I Have a fish tank already, and the water, and everything. But no fish. Im waiting a little while to find out what kind I should get. I want a Angel Fish And A Male Betta. Can these fish live together? Also, what other fish can live with Betta's and Angel Fish?
Micki <n/a>
Sydney, NS Canada - Mon, December 17, 2001

The Betta would probably harass the Angel Fish. They are similar enough so the Betta will think the Angel is a rival. If the tank is big enough - 20 gallons and has floating plants, you might be able to get away with it. As for tank mates you want fish that are big enough so that neither Betta or Angel Fish can eat them. Try to stay away from Barbs, as they tend to pick on tank mates. Good luck.

Hi, I have another question, I have 3 clown loaches and they are starting to get ick. I been using aquarisol for 4 days and raised the temperature to 30 c. it look like the ick stop growing but they still have it on them. i dont know if i should add aquarium salt to the water, but i also have a pleco and two elephant nose and a friend told me that pleco dont like salt. what else can i do?
ny, ny USA - Tue, December 18, 2001

You really need to remove the fish that have ick and put them in a bucket or other large container of water. Treat them separately from the other fish and put the container in a warm spot. Don't add salt to your tank, you'll kill your other fish.

how can u tell if your molly is a boy or a girl? And how can you tell when your fish is pregnant?
canal winchester, oh USA - Tue, December 25, 2001

Female mollies tend to be larger and plumper. They get a dark area on their bellies when they are pregnant.

about ten days ago i bought 4 female sunset platys upon observation i realized that one imparticular (pumpkin) is fatter than the others and has a light brown spot on her abdomen which i think may be the beginnings of a gravid spot is she pregnant or am i paranoid please help!!
Lexy <Rapunzel716715>
USA - Sun, December 30, 2001

Quite likely pregnant. Platies and mollies are often pregnant when you buy them. <>>><