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How to keep a healthy Otocinclus Catfish

Discussion in 'BottomFeeder Discussion' started by Smalltank3, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Smalltank3

    Smalltank3 Large Fish

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    After looking through the forum, I've seen some threads about users on here having their Otocinclus Catfish die. This thread is to give information about how to keep the Otocinclus happy and healthy and to provide information to those who want to purchase one.

    About the Otocinclus Catfish
    The Otocinclus Catfish, also know as the Oto or Dwarf Sucker, is one of the smallest in the Loricariidae Family. The adult size of the Oto is about 1.5 inches. It originates from South America in the lower Amazon basin. The Oto is a great algae eater that will eat away brown algae off glass, decor, plants, and any other algae based objects. It can be sensitive to water parameters so a Ph of 5.5ppm to 7.5ppm, Ammonia and Nitrites of 0ppm, and Nitrates of 0-20ppm is ideal. Looking at these parameters, the Oto is not a hardy fish and should be put in a well established cycled tank. They DO require a well established tank and stable parameters to thrive. They are also very sensitive to medications. If certain medications are added or have been added to the tank you plan on putting otos in they will most likely die. Before buying Otos, make sure your tank has brown algae in it. Otos do not do well in shipping and may become very stressed that they will not eat for a couple days after putting them in your tank. If there is algae in there for them to eat after becoming unstressed, they will happily eat the algae and will most likely survive. The otos may look very inactive during the day but that is because they are most active at night. They are a great substitute for the Plecostomus. They produce little waste and don't grow as big as the plecostomus.

    Tank Setup
    The Oto will be fine in a tank that is 5 U.S. gallons or larger. They like the water temperature to be 70-78 degrees Fahrenheit. The Oto likes a planted tank with some algae in it for it to eat. They are very peaceful and are compatible with other small peaceful fish. Any substrate is fine for the Oto. Driftwood or caves will provide hiding places for the oto to help it from becoming stressed. Otos like to have a few friends with them so purchasing 1-3 otos for smaller tanks is fine. For larger tanks, it's best if kept in groups of 6 or more. Your tank should have good filtration for the Otos. If you have a tank setup similar to this, Otos will thrive in your tank and be healthy and happy.

    Feeding
    A tank with brown algae will keep the Oto fed. If brown algae is not present, feed them algae wafers, cucumbers, lettuce, and zucchini.

    Breeding And Sexing
    Sexing the Otocinclus is very simple. The females are larger then the slender males. The ease of breeding the Oto is moderate to very difficult. There are currently 13 species of Otocinclus. I have not bred Otos but I have some information that could possibly help if you are interested.

    Breeding report on Otocinclus vestitus

    By reading this article you should have an understanding on how to successfully keep Otocinclus Catfish alive in your tank. I currently have 2 otos in my 10g right now and they do a great job of cleaning all the algae off the walls. They are a great fish to have and can do wonders to a tank full of algae.
     
    #1 Smalltank3, Jul 23, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2006
    FreshwaterJeff likes this.


  2. PlecoCollector

    PlecoCollector Superstar Fish

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    Thanks for writing this! It'll help me a lot with the fish profiles I'm writing up for the pet store I work at! :D We have Otos, so they'll need one!
     
  3. Smalltank3

    Smalltank3 Large Fish

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    Your welcome:D After reading some oto threads I thought of making a thread to help guide users on here on how to keep healthy otos and prevent them from dying.
     
  4. GeraldTheMouse

    GeraldTheMouse Superstar Fish

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    Stickey! Stickey!
     
  5. Submariner

    Submariner Large Fish

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    Thanks for the info- I'm in the market for a new algae eater, this has helped me greatly!
     
  6. Smalltank3

    Smalltank3 Large Fish

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    Hey sub, I see you've purchased 2 otos in your signature:) Good choice*thumbsups
     
  7. James From Cali

    James From Cali Superstar Fish

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    Thanks for this. My friend has just bought some of them yesterday. He bought 30 for his 200g tank. Would it be alright for me to put it on my forum? I have like 20 guest every once and a while and there is nothing to read yet except Rules and Cycling A Tank. This would be a good article and thread for them.
     
  8. Smalltank3

    Smalltank3 Large Fish

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    Hey go right ahead! I hope they will absorb some good information on otos:)
     
  9. James From Cali

    James From Cali Superstar Fish

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    Yeah thats what I was thinking. I think the more people that see it the better off their Oto's will be. Thanks.
     
  10. Mom2Angel

    Mom2Angel Medium Fish

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    Great info! I had two and lost one within 24 hours of getting them. The one I have seems to be doing well, except I have a hard time finding it most of the time! It is everywhere in the tank...very hard workers to keep the tank sparkling! I did learn alot more from your post...Thanks!
     
  11. James From Cali

    James From Cali Superstar Fish

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    I cant wait to go get some oto's. Now I know how to keep them alive. :D
     
  12. JustOneMore20

    JustOneMore20 Large Fish

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    Sorry, I'm being picky....but shouldn't it be cycled tank? Otos shouldn't be put in a tank that is cycling. :)

    Its a great article! Will be very helpful to those who have never kept otos! Just a note, I've learned (through experience) that buying bigger (and fatter) otos from the store, helps in their survival. The ones that are really skinny and have near sunken in bellies will almost always die. Usually when they are shipped to LFS, they are starved because the bags don't have any algae. And usually LFS don't feed them algae wafers. Thats why alot of them die at the store and shortly after you buy them.
     
  13. Smalltank3

    Smalltank3 Large Fish

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    Oh, thank you for noticing that:) After proofreading it I didn't catch that one! Thanks:D
     
  14. James From Cali

    James From Cali Superstar Fish

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    LOL, I had to correct it too. Well its still a good article.
     
  15. JustOneMore20

    JustOneMore20 Large Fish

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    Yes its a great article...I just thought I'd mention that minor typo! I didn't want people adding them to cycling tanks and then asking why they died. :)

    Bravo on a great article Smalltank! :D
     
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