feeding little fish - CPD, Chili, pygmy cory
Sorry this is long, tried to give enough info to give a good picture of the issue.
I have a 15 gal planted low tech tank that has been up and running for almost a year now.
I have "a lot" of little fish in there. There are 6 CPD, 14 Chili rasbora, 9 pygmy cory, and 2 Oto. (there were more oto when the tank was young and I had diatom issues, but these are the ones that are left) There are also 15 or so Cherry shrimp, and of course - pond snails.
Just can't seem to get the nitrates down, so I think it is from over feeding.
I feed a variety - NLS small fish formula is my day to day, but feed frozen daphnia, baby brine shrimp, plus catfish sinking rounds, pinches of soft bottom feeder pellets, shrimp pellets, some crushed flake -- rotating of course, not all at once. But, it's hard to get food down where the cory cats will get it and the Otos without the shrimp hogging it. And the CPDs eat everything before the Chili's get much chance. So I think that I am putting in to much food - as I feed what I **think*** is small amount twice a day. I use a glass drinking straw to drop food down into the plants in the center of the tank, under the anubias where the cories and otos hang out.
My question is -- for those with small fish -- can I cut down to once a day... or smaller amounts? Or skip days? I rarely see my cory cats, they always hang out under the plants, driftwood and rocks with the otos, but I **think** they are doing ok. All the CPD etc, look ok, except one that gets picked on all the time. I've only been back in to tanks for a year, though, since I was a kid, so I am no expert.
How much should these little fish be fed, and how often?
I do know my otos are not plump. Not much algae. I have tried putting in zucchini, cucumber, all sorts of pleco food, etc. that the fish specialty food store near me says otos would eat... they just do not fatten up. The shrimp and snails swarm over all the food I put in for the otos but the otos - well I never see them eat anything, really, yet they will soon be in the tank 10 months, so they have to be eating something. I have two Fluval Spec V's for my bettas that I can't get the algae out of ... that I am SO tempted to put the otos over into..... but know they need more than 5.5 gal. This 15 though - the lights are on from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the plants grow well for low tech - just no algae. The Bettas - 6 hours light, algae everywhere.... go figure.
I attached a recent (not so good) photo of the 15 gallon. Sorry, my tank photo skills are not the best.
Anyway, I see some people say that they feed every other day, or skip days, or only feed once a day. But not sure if I can do this with little tiny fish?
Thanks for any advice on how much, how often etc. to feed these fish!
Also would love to know of any Ken's or other food that might bring the Otos and Cories out from under the anubias.... I can't seem to find anything they are really crazy about. Other than the two small betta tanks, this is it for me, so I hate to order a pound of some food for my little group of cory cats - but hey, if it makes them happy and brings them out of hiding - it would be wroth it, I suppose!
Tank maintenance and info
The tank has been really stable - always O ammonia and nitrite - but the nitrate is usually 20-40 no matter if I do a water change every 3 days or every 10 days or every 3 weeks. Or, if I do a massive w/c and do another 2 days later. The nitrate stays the pretty much the same. Normally, I take the water down to about 2-1/2 to 3"" above the substrate every 7-8 days for water change. I rinse one filter one week and the other filter the next week etc. Every 2-3 weeks I lightly vacuum half the tank, then do the other half the next time.
My water is really, really hard well water - so I cut it with 50% RO water, and do top off's with RO water. I use 2 Aqua Clear HOB 20's - one with bio rings and carbon, one with bio rings and Purigen. Temp at 76-77. Have had no deaths, no problems. Substrate is Eco-complete, lights are Marine Land DoubleBright and have had no algae. Tank looks really great, I think, for low tech. Fish look very happy.
I dose ferts when I do water change, so every week to 10 days. Flourish, Flourish Trace, Flourish Potassium, Excel. I do Excel in between, too, once a week. I am physically disabled, so I don't over fert so I don't get into a lot excess trimming or lots of water changes. I did buy some Osmocote Flower and Veggie granuals to put in gel caps, but have not wanted to try it with the nitrate up this high.