Hi, I'm brand new to your site. Hope I don't make any faux pas here. If so, please let me know.
I HAVE to share what just happened, wished I had taken a picture, it was incredible -- but there really was no time.
Tonight, my 4 inch goldfish swallowed a 1 and 1/2 inch oto. Only the little brown tail was sticking out of Goldie's mouth. I quickly scooped a bunch of the aquarium water in a medium sized bowl, grabbed Goldie out of the tank, and held Goldie under the water in the bowl. At first I gently tried to pull the oto from Goldie's mouth, but when it didn't come out easily I remembered about how breaking the barbs on the oto will kill the oto and quite possibly severely injure or kill the goldfish.
I don't know why I did this but it worked -- I gently squeezed Goldie's abdomen and the oto came plopping out of one of Goldie's gills!
A few months ago, I lost one of the three otos I had in the tank (they are such good little algae janitors and the teen at the pet store suggested they would be fine with my goldfish
). The little guy just disappeared one day. My guess now is that Goldie had an oto snack back then. Sad. Needless to say, I have removed the last oto from my goldfish tank and the 2 little survivors are hanging out in a 1 gallon bowl with some rocks and plants from my tank, and a bubbler until I can figure out what to do with them.
Thanks for this forum!