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Old 01-06-2009, 07:56 PM   #1
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Recommend some cold water fish for a desk setup


I haven't had fish in many years, but I recently decided to get a small setup for my desk at work. I'm leaning toward something like a 5 gallon tank with a couple of fish. Since I have a very limited amount of room, it really can't be much bigger than that.

I also have very limited space to plug anything in, so I would like to find some hearty fish that do well without a heater. I'll likely just get a top for the 5 gallon tank and put a light over it. Can you recommend a few fish that would do well in this kind of setup?

I'm thinking of something like a Beta, some Ghost Shrimp, and maybe a Clown Loach or something like that. (Not sure if the loach would do well or not in "cold" water.) I just want some fish with nice color, and something that is active.

Thanks for any input you can offer on both the fish and the setup!
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:00 PM   #2
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Clown loaches grow to be a foot long. Definitely a poor choice.

A pair of smaller gouramis and a few guppies or Endlers would be a good combination.

I'd definitely recommend a heater though. You'd only need three plugs - light, filter, and heater.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:14 PM   #3
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Well, I can either plug in fish stuff or computer stuff... and since I'm at work, computer stuff wins. I recall having a clown loach that lived for several years, and only got to be 2-3 inches long in a 55 gallon tank.

Gouramis would certainly add some nice color. Do you really think a heater is necessary for a tiny little aquarium like that, with some shrimp and another scavenger in it to keep it clean?
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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How about a power strip that gives you more outlets?

Whether a heater is necessary depends on your location. On my desk, the water temperature stays between 76 and 80 all the time. On my girlfriend's desk, the water temperature drops to as low as 50 during the weekends.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:21 PM   #5
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Most fish listed prefer heaters. The clown loach was a stunted fish. That is not the best healthy environment for a fish obviously. If you plan on keeping fish a heater would be best. You can use a surge bar for extra plugins.

White cloud minnows would be alright without a heater I do believe.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:28 PM   #6
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A power strip is not an option. I already have one, and it is full except for 1 spot... so it's either light or a heater.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:37 PM   #7
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No outlet space for a filter?

You need at least two additional power outlets.

Add another power strip, and do it properly - filter, light, and heater.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:49 PM   #8
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No outlet space for a filter?

You need at least two additional power outlets.

Add another power strip, and do it properly - filter, light, and heater.
Thanks for taking the time to respond, but you guys are not getting the message. It has now been recommended several times that I add a power strip or get more plug-ins, and I've tried to make it quite clear. Adding an outlet or power strip is not an option, which is why I'm asking for input on a cold-water setup.

So... with the cold-water setup in mind... can anyone recommend a hearty fish that will do OK in that kind of tank?
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:51 PM   #9
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As I mentioned white cloud minnows are cold water fish.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to respond, but you guys are not getting the message. It has now been recommended several times that I add a power strip or get more plug-ins, and I've tried to make it quite clear. Adding an outlet or power strip is not an option, which is why I'm asking for input on a cold-water setup.

So... with the cold-water setup in mind... can anyone recommend a hearty fish that will do OK in that kind of tank?
I'd recommend that you add "with no filter" to your list of special requirements.

OK, so you won't have a filter and you won't have a heater. Do you know how cold the water will get at night and over the weekends?
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:56 PM   #11
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White cloud minnows would be alright without a heater I do believe.
That was myy first thouht. They have nice color too.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:10 PM   #12
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5 gallons, no filter, no heater.

No goldfish as they're too messy, no bettas as they like 80* water, shrimp would be OK, snails would be OK.

You better be ready to be doing several water changes a week though... I would say 50% at least 2-3x/week. That really feasible for you?
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:13 PM   #13
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It has a pretty stable temperature day and night, since it is a 24-hour workplace. I might just go buy one of those adhesive thermometers, and put it on a glass of water for a few days. Maybe that will give me an idea of where the water temps will be?

I've been searching some websites, and noticed the small "Eclipse" and other similar systems that seem to come with everything included. It would be awesome if they could make something like that, with everything on a single cord.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:17 PM   #14
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The strip thermometers measure the temp of the glass, not the water (and thus aren't really effective). For about $5 or so there is a thermometer that suction-cups on to the glass but is in the water-- works much better.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:17 PM   #15
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I'd recommend that you add "with no filter" to your list of special requirements.
I guess I could also run a light during the day when I'm working, and let a filter run at night when I'm gone. That might be a good trade-off.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:40 PM   #16
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To bad someone cant breed a dwarf goldfish.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:54 AM   #17
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I guess I could also run a light during the day when I'm working, and let a filter run at night when I'm gone. That might be a good trade-off.
No, that is not a good trade off .... the filter bacteria will dry out & die without water flow, & then you flush the dead stuff into your tank at night ....

Going Dutch might be an option: You have a planted tank with low bioload (say white clouds). Use the one outlet for a good light to grow the plants & let the plants be the filter. <Note that a Dutch aquarium is relatively advance method ... read up on "natural aquarium" if you are to attempt this.>

You may also consider running a heater & forgoing the light. You use your existing office lights to see your fish (no plants unless your office is VERY brightly lit), and run a small heater with a single betta. With good water changes & a largish setup (5-6 gal), that would work.

PS - the Eclipse don't run off a single cord .... mine has separate cords for the light, filter & heater ....
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:56 AM   #18
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To bad someone cant breed a dwarf goldfish.
The fancy double tails are dwarf goldfish! They only grow to 8" (instead of 24"), and can be kept in a 40 gal tank instead of a 200 gal pond .... :p
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:05 AM   #19
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I'm curious about the environment that absolutely prevents the use of another power strip.

What's the reason behind this? What kind of place do you work that would allow a 5 gallon aquarium on a desk, but not a simple extension cord to split one outlet into 3?
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:19 AM   #20
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I'm curious about the environment that absolutely prevents the use of another power strip.

What's the reason behind this? What kind of place do you work that would allow a 5 gallon aquarium on a desk, but not a simple extension cord to split one outlet into 3?
Jonnythan, don't sprain your brain on the issue! THIS IS VERY SIMPLE. I have a limited amount of outlets, and they already have power strips on them. I can't add any more. Period. This is a work environment, and I can't just unplug work-related items in order to have an aquarium. Most everything that is plugged in is computer-related, so I can't just plug and unplug stuff without having to reinstall it later.

So... as I have said several times... there is one plug available. I'm not sure what it has to do with making a recommendation for cold-water fish, but hopefully it ends your preoccupation with how many outlets I have left in my office.
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