Why do I keep losing otocinclus???

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sorberj

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Sep 14, 2009
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Jerad
Ok, so I know that otos are notorious for not lasting long, and I've done my research and understand that a lot of it probably has to do with the capture method, but before I start the search for some tank raised otos, I thought I'd check in here.

I've tried 4 otos from each of the large national pet store chains and have had 100% loss. Only 3 out of the 8 even made it out of QT and those lasted no more than a week in the main tank. All died with no signs of infection, but there were reddish areas on the belly. They didn't really want to eat much either, even the nice brown algae on the plants I moved into the QT tank for them. Algae tabs didn't garner much interest, although some did eat biofilm off of the driftwood. Am I doing something wrong or should the law of averages finally catch up with me and provide some survivors? If it is the issue of chemical use on wild caught fish, are there any reputable suppliers out there? What about breeders for tank raised?

Here's the skivvy on the setup:
The main tank is fully planted and kept at 78F for temperature has cured driftwood as well.

My water params are:
API Master Test Kit (liquid):
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5
pH: 7.6

Nutrafin/Hagen Hardness Test Kit (liquid):
gH: 6.72
KH: 90

I dose every three days with Excel and Flourish and once per week with Flourish Potassium and Flourish Phosporous for the stem plants and use API root tabs once per month for the root plants. I keep the Flourish refrigerated as per the bottle instructions and have not seen any mold on it. Water change is once per week at 30% and temperature matched. The last batch of otos, I even drip acclimated to both the quarantine and the main.
 

LeahK

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Jul 5, 2007
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I would definitely look for tank-raised otos if you can get them in your area.

There's a thread here about someone trying to breed them: http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194151&highlight=oto+journal

I have had similar experiences with otos in the past. My guys always ate and had round stomachs, but I still saw fish after fish die with no external symptoms. At a certain point, I decided that I could no longer support a fish-catching method that leads to so many deaths, so I said that I would either buy tank-raised otos or no otos at all.

I don't have any at the moment, so I can't tell you how hardy the tank-bred ones are compared to wild-caught ones. It'd be interesting if someone with tank-bred ones could comment on this.
 

sushiray

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Jan 14, 2009
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I bought 2otos from petsmart @$1.99, 1 died. then they had $1 sale on all algae eaters/plecos so bought 3more. in discus tank at 85-86 temp still alive. no more brown algae/diatom bloom. have lots of b
plants 3pcs of driftwood, but not sure what they're eating, but I see 3of4 with round bellies.

maybe they need more algae/film to suck on. but how do u know if wild caught or tank bred?

but now I think I caught 1 trying to suck some slime off 1 discus, is that normal?
 

sushiray

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!
 
Last edited:

sorberj

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Sep 14, 2009
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McCleary, WA
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Jerad
Take my expertise for what it is, considering I can't keep them alive, but my understanding is that if they're trying to suck slime off of another fish they need supplemental food (I read this on otocinclus.com) the suggestion was to try zucchini or something along those lines. I just need to try to keep them alive, and I'm done supporting unethical capture methods as well.

Oh and I forgot to mention, the Kh measurement I gave was in mg/L, the degrees is 5.05.
 

lilim10

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Aug 7, 2008
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June
I bought 2otos from petsmart @$1.99, 1 died. then they had $1 sale on all algae eaters/plecos so bought 3more. in discus tank at 85-86 temp still alive. no more brown algae/diatom bloom. have lots of b
plants 3pcs of driftwood, but not sure what they're eating, but I see 3of4 with round bellies.

maybe they need more algae/film to suck on. but how do u know if wild caught or tank bred?

but now I think I caught 1 trying to suck some slime off 1 discus, is that normal?
Sometimes algae eaters such as otos may pester discus a bit because of their slime coats. Try tossing in some blanched zucchini or cucumber it there's no algae for them.
 

Pearl

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Aug 12, 2009
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You may not have lost all of your otos. I added six otos to a 29 gallon serpae tetra tank seven months ago. Two months later, I was sure that all but one oto had died. Six weeks ago, I just happened to see all six otos hiding behind an Amazon sword.
 

sorberj

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Sep 14, 2009
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Jerad
Unfortunately all of the bodies were accounted for so I know that I lost all of them. There was one that I was hoping for, but I found it next to my rock pile two days after it disappeared.
 

andyjh

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Feb 18, 2009
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No doubt, ottos can be hit or miss. I've found that they have a better chance in a well established tank. You didn't say how long the main tank has been running. If the tank has been up for 6 months or more you might have a better percentage of keepers. I've got some ottos in one of my tanks that have been around for quite a long time, lending credence to the thought that ottos will last either a few days...OR a few years. Kinda strange.
 
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