So it has been a month since i added fish. sorry pics aren't greatest quality.
2 of my otos died. two weeks in they became sick (or were already sick, as they did not look great in the store, but i took a chance, and thought they had improved). their gills got very red and they became lethargic. the first one had been kinda meek from the start so he was first. the next day, the second died. then the third, who had been very active, stopped eating and sat at the bottom of the tank. but so far, he has pulled through. last week he started eating again and is doing loops in the tank. so fingers crossed that he is here to stay. i really like him.
i read that symptoms like this are signs of ammonia poisoning but ammonia was 0 ppm, nitrites were 0 ppm, and nitrates were ~2 ppm. i did a small water change, resampled several times, and was very worried my test strips were bad. but the other fish seemed fine, and the strips had seemed to work earlier when i had set up the tank. any ideas?
in other news, all my plants are growing. i thought the vals would die for sure, as they all melted at the beginning, but they are coming back and spreading quickly. the salvinia takes over the surface of the tank and, i think, must be keeping nitrates low. i skim it off the top and gave some to coworkers. i did get some algae but i waited and it went away (or my oto eats it).
it is v nice to be able to take breaks from my desk and watch my fish tank (it is on a bookshelf behind me or i would stare at it all day). i am seeing a lot of interesting personality and behaviors. the betta likes to swim in the filter current sometimes, then do loops around the ludwigia, then in the afternoon he hides under the crypts for an hour. i gave the oto a piece of a brussel sprout and was surprised to see how much the endlers picked at it.
i know i have not followed the common rules, as i don't do much water changes, and my tank is overstocked. it is still in the early stages, and i may have to change this. feel free to give advice or comment. thanks!