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Old 08-29-2004, 06:16 PM   #1
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Otto help

I added a couple of Otto's to my tank (20 gal with 4 serpae tetras and 3 harlequin rasboras).
Everything seemed fine for a couple of weeks - there wasn't much algae and they polished it off in no time.
So I got some algae tablets and the guy at the pet store said to only put one in every 2-3 days.

Well - one Otto died, don't know why. I don't think he starved because the most recent algae tablet I
put in there actually bloomed because it just sat there and they didn't eat it.

I have very little to no algae in my tank for them to eat. What should I do?
I want to get another Otto or two so that one doesn't live alone (read that is bad for Ottos) but don't want to kill another one....

Any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong?
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Old 08-29-2004, 07:49 PM   #2
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I have two ottos also, and in doing research before hand I read a lot how ottos apparently die unexplained deaths all the time. They are supposedly pretty fragile. I put in the algae tabs once in a while too, but the only fish that shows interest is my cory cat. I believe that ottos will also eat some types of veggies. I would look into that. And the obvious question, what are your ammonia, nitrate, nitrite readings?
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Old 08-29-2004, 07:55 PM   #3
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As far as I know all Otocinclus are wild caught and it is not unusual for them to keel over after a few weeks for unknown reasons. The ones that adapt should do fine assuming that there is enough food for them. I have never seen my Otos eat any thing but algae and the occasional nibble at a piece of blanched zucchini or broccoli. I have heard of people growing algae for them by putting sticks or driftwood in a bucket of water outdoors and transferring them to the tank when they are algae covered. Good luck to you
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Old 08-29-2004, 09:11 PM   #4
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When I tried ottos a few years ago, I had the same experience. The fish were happy for weeks and then one by one they died off. I tried again last week and bought four new guys. Once more they are happy swimming around cleaning the plants. I am ready for the inevitable. From the research I have done, ottos are very sensitive. To what is the question. They are captured in the wild and transported to the US. If that isn't stress enough I don't know what is. I suspect Hatchet fish are the same way. They either make it or they don't.
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Old 08-29-2004, 10:47 PM   #5
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SubChick,
Another thing you can try is thinly sliced cucumber. I slice it, put it in a bit of water and then microwave it for 20 seconds or so. I let it cool off a bit, drop it onto the gravel and they flock! I am going to try the same thing with zucchini soon because I hear they like that even more.
I had the same problem with mine not eating the algae tabs.
HTH!
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:17 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Sounds like it is just luck
of the draw with these little guys.

I'll go get a couple more today, because I don't want the one that is still
living to be alone - he's hiding all the time now.
When the other was here they came out a lot. Read that is typical.

I'll also try the cucumber and zuchinni idea - thanks veru.

I'm going on a 3 week vacation and have a automatic feeder. I was going to put some crushed algae tabs
in there for them, but now have to rethink that. Any ideas?
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:54 AM   #7
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The trick with the veggies is to LEAVE them in the tank for a couple days! It may take the otos awhile before they figure out how yummy a cucumber or zuchinni is. But once they do, WATCH OUT!!!

Do you have anyone reliable who could put a cucumber slice in once a week? (replacing old one with a new one?) This should keep them from starving. My otos never ate anything but natural brown algae...now they feast on cucumber, zuchinni and they will nibble at the algae pellets! It just takes time and persistance...try putting the cucumber in when the tank is dark. You can leave it floating or anchor it under a plant/decoration...they do tend to approach it more if it's not bouncing around the top of the tank...
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:58 AM   #8
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Tips for purchasing otos....try to pick ones that are larger then the rest and pick the most active ones....spend a few minutes just watching them in the pet store before you pick the ones you want. Otos are very fragile so it's best not to choose small/skinny ones. In my experience, if I can get them to survive the first 4 days or so, then they'll be fine after that. Once they're fed regularly and settled, they will flourish. Keep the tank dark for the first few hours you put them in...that helps too.
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Old 08-30-2004, 04:40 PM   #9
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Also, I purchased a terra cotta saucer (like what you would put under a terra cotta pot to catch water) and I put the cucumber in the bottom. It is really neat because the otos show up very well against the orangy color and they know where to look for their food. They even sit on the edge and wait for their turn.
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