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Can I keep otos?
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rjw92
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Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Location: Manchester (UK)

PostPosted: 2011.06.10(Fri)5:27    Post subject: Can I keep otos? Reply with quote

I have been considering adding a few otos to my tank. The tank holds 60L and currently houses 4 bronze cories and 6 glowlight tetras. Are these suitable tank mates?

The gallery information for otos says that they 'do best in planted tanks'; my tank has 3 bunches of java fern which occupy about 1/4 of the tank space, as well as various plastic plants. Is this 'planted' enough for otos?

The water in the tank has a pH of 7, is kept at a temperature of around 26 degrees celsius, and I change 10L of water every week.

Does it sound like otos would be able to do well in my setup?

Thanks for your help Smile
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Cinder
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Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2011.06.10(Fri)13:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

First - IMO, that size tank is full with the fish you have. The types of fish would be fine with Otos but the size of the tank limits the number of fish you should have.

Otos can be very difficult to acclimate to a tank. They should not be introduced to a tank until it is very stable -- having been up and running for a minimum of six months - longer is even better for them. Otos thrive with live plants, lots of live plants; they also do best with brown algae growing to eat. They don't always take well to 'man-made' foods and die a slow death of starvation.
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rjw92
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Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Location: Manchester (UK)

PostPosted: 2011.06.10(Fri)16:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tank has been running for almost two years now, and the plastic plants (and some of the larger fern leaves) are covered in algae, so I don't think that would be a problem. But you think that I should just avoid adding any extra fish?
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.06.11(Sat)0:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know what your nitrate levels get to the day before you do your water change?

It's close to full stocking, but IMO adding a couple of Otocinclus wouldn't tip you over the edge. The problem is just going to supplying enough food for the Otocinclus to graze on and keeping up water quality at the same time (because you don't have a high plant load to keep nitrates etc down).
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rjw92
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Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Location: Manchester (UK)

PostPosted: 2011.06.11(Sat)4:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually change my water today, so I tested nitrate levels before I did so, and got a reading of around 0ppm (it's hard to tell the exact levels using the colour chart).

Should otos just be left to eat algae and give them occasional vegetables, or will they eat algae wafers too? If they don't eat the algae wafers, how often would I have to offer vegetables?
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.06.11(Sat)5:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm, if you're sure the test is reading right, sounds good. Java fern is usually not a great nitrate sponge because it grows fairly slow, but it seems to be working for you.

Algae is the primary choice, vegetables is the secondary choice and algae wafers is (IMO) a distant third. The wafers usually have a high protein % which, in large amounts, supposedly can cause gut problems. Certainly in my experience Otocinclus fed with a high protein diet don't tend to do too well in the long run, often bloating. One food I like to have around is nori (make sure you get the one without flavouring or added ingredients), it's very convienient for lazy days as you can keep it in a tupperware container at room temperature near the tank like most fish foods.

It may take some time for them to realize that the vegetables or algae wafers are food, so be patient. Don't leave uneaten food lying around in the tank for more than 2 days. As for how much you need to feed, it requires a bit of guesswork. When you first purchase them, make sure to have food in the tank constantly as (IME) it seems to improve the survival rate. After they seem established (few weeks) you can cut back to supplementing their diet a couple of times a week. Their bellies should be nice and rounded, not necessarily like they have swallowed a marble (which can be a bad sign, or alternatively an indication that it is a female full of eggs) but definitely not sunken.
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rjw92
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Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Location: Manchester (UK)

PostPosted: 2011.06.11(Sat)10:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will check the water for nitrates again next week to be sure. I'm still not 100% I want to add otos to the tank yet; I'll see how I feel in a few weeks. Thanks a lot for your advice anyway though!
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