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Is my Oto sick or just lonely?

Discussion in 'Catfish' started by fish_gal77, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. fish_gal77

    fish_gal77 AC Members

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    I have become slightly concerned about my little oto lately... I have a single oto in a 5 gallon tank on my desk at work along with a betta, a cory, and an ADF. The oto has been in the tank for about 3-4 months but lately it has been spending a lot of time just hanging out on the bottom. There is plenty of algae for it to munch on (multiple types) but it doesn't seem to be doing nearly as much eating as it did when I first put it in the tank.

    I had a lot of brown algae when he/she first went in there and he made short work of it, cleaning all the leaves on my sword plants and the sides of the tank. Now brown algae on my plants (at least I think it's brown algae), along with some bright green soft algae (NOT hair algae). I do weekly water changes and test the water, ammonia and nitrites are always 0, not sure what nitrates are (need to bring my test kit from home). Water here is alkaline and hard (pH about 8.2, KH 150ppm, GH 180ppm). I get the algae because the tank gets too much light so the sides get scrubbed down weekly but I always make sure to leave some algae in there for Oto... I will occasionally see him 'working' on the gravel and plants but not nearly as much as I used to see him moving about. He doesn't look thin, his color is normal, swimming normally (when it does swim), breathing normally, tail and fins are a bit clamped when it is resting on the bottom but not while swimming... should I be worried? Is he just bored or lonely?

    Someone previously suggested to me that I should put in a couple more since they prefer to be in groups. I DO plan to do this soon but the last time I saw them at LFS, there was a sick glass fish in the tank with them so I passed.
     
  2. Aqualung

    Aqualung AC Members

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    I wouldn't add any more otos in your case, unless you get a bigger tank (which I highly recommend). Adding more otos would overload the tank more than it already is. Also, you would definitely run out of algae in a hurry and constant feeding of veggies in a tank that small would be a bit risky. To be honest, I'd say your oto is lonely as well as cramped for space. Any chance of getting a larger aquarium?

    *Just noticed your sig. You could move the oto into the larger tank and get a couple more. I bet you would see the fish become more active.
     
  3. RockabillyChick

    RockabillyChick Kilt-lifter

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    any way you could upgrade to a 10g and get a couple more otos? they should be in groups.
     
  4. Gumby131

    Gumby131 cod fishing

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    get some more corys to,
    they are a schooling fish
     
  5. fish_gal77

    fish_gal77 AC Members

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    As it says in my signature - the 5g tank is on my desk at work so NO I can't upgrade to a 10g even if I wanted to. I quite like my small betta aquarium, it's a wonderful addition to my office and a relaxing distraction at times :) I have to say that a lot of people on here really JUMP on those that keep small aquariums. It would be much more constructive to give advice on how to optimize and maintain these small systems rather than just using a blanket statement of "get a bigger tank". I have been maintaining good water conditions (as good as they get using tap water that is) for many months now without trouble!

    I WILL agree though that the current occupants of my 5g are not optimal and I'm willing to make the necessary changes. Can anyone think of anything else I could keep in the 5g that might consume some of the algae and be suitable to go with a betta and ADF?

    Do oto's eat hair algae at all? I have some hair algae in the 44 and I've been wanting to get several Oto's for that tank anyway, just curious if they might help out that situation.

    I already have a pair of pepper cories in the 44g at home and am working on building up a school of them so I suppose I should move him. He does seem to be content on his own and I adore watching him swim around while sitting at my desk thinking (ie. daydreaming and staring at the fish). :) It's a little tough to get away from the notion that schooling fish are ok alone when most of us grew up seeing aquariums with a random assortment of fish. BUT I understand that they are better in a school and their behavior will change with the right conditions so I'm excited to see that! I want to do what's best for the fish...

    That said, I know I have to re-think many of my choices for the 44g... I need to find a new home for the boesemani rainbows and perhaps re-visit my initial though of creating a south american habitat with Rams and cories and??? what other fish are south american?
     
  6. RockabillyChick

    RockabillyChick Kilt-lifter

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    i have nothing against a 5g tank, so long as its stocked with fish that will fit in it, which there aren't many. an oto needs to be in a group, and a 5g tank is not big enough for a group of otos, so either get a bigger tank and more otos, or get rid of the oto.

    cories also need groups, and a 5g tank is not big enough for a group of cories.

    i think the best stock would be the betta, and ADF, and a snail and/or some shrimp

    the only reason i suggested "get a bigger tank" is because it would be the only way you could get enough room for a goup of otos and a group of cories, rather than getting rid of them or moving them to a different tank.
     
    #6 RockabillyChick, Mar 10, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2006
  7. fish_gal77

    fish_gal77 AC Members

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    Thanks for your input for more suitable inhabitants.

    Sorry for my venting... I wasn't meaning to direct it at anyone here specifically. Actually the comments to me were phrased just fine. I do a good amount of lurking on the boards and notice that the larger tank issue comes up a lot and not always in a constructive manner. I guess I shouldn't say anything since mine is not properly stocked at the moment. Easily recified though since I have the larger 'house' available for the cory and the oto :) Like I said, I still manage to keep the water parameters in check without hardly any effort (the biowheel works wonders!). Would I be pushing it to get a DWARF pleco like a rubbernose? Of course that would be after moving the cory and the oto!
     
  8. Aqualung

    Aqualung AC Members

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    Otos are South American, and a group of them would likely do well in your 44gal. They won't touch your hair algae, but they will happily browse on soft green algae, diatoms, and biofilm. If you are planning on redoing the stocking, then I'd recommend moving your oto from the 5 gallon into the 44 and getting at least 3 more.

    Shrimp would be much more suitable for the 5g tank, and many types of shrimp will eat algae. It depends on the type of algae though - certain kinds such as blue/green algae and green spot algae won't be touched by most fish or inverts and must be cleaned by hand.
     
  9. fish_gal77

    fish_gal77 AC Members

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    are shrimp typically ok with ADF? I like shrimp just don't want to watch them get eaten!
     
  10. monkey_toes

    monkey_toes "Maybe it's a hybrid"

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    Yes. All plecos are high-bioload fish. I think the ideal 5-gallon setup would be a school of 6 small-bodied fish (neons, cardinals, glow-lights, zebra danios) and a few low-light live plants. If you have enough light to grow algae, you've got enough for most cryptocorynes, and wendtii and nevilli are small enough to fit.
     

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