Otocinclus Catfish Care - YouTube
It is often said that Otocinclus Catfish care is relatively easy. But while care should be easy and straight foreword, keeping Oto Catfish can be tricky because they a delicate . Otto Cats often die shortly after being added to an aquarium, even after appearing to be healthy, active and feeding well during the first few days. That said, some can live over one year and grow in size…under the right conditions and with a little luck.
This stunning miniature Loricariid has only been available in the hobby since 2001, and was described to science in 2004. As with other otos, it can be a little delicate when first imported and should be quarantined carefully until it’s settled. The quarantine tank should be established in order to provide a good biofilm on surfaces for the fish to graze.
I learned that the otocinclus has many names. Those other names being the oto cat and the oto. The oto can reach a maximum of 2 inches and has a typical bottom feeder shape. They prefer a heavily planted aquarium with water that is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline and slightly soft to slightly hard water. They thrive in water with a temperature between 68-79 degrees Fahrenheit. They are at best when kept in schools of 4 or more. Caution these fish may get caught in netting. Do not attempt to pull the fish free. Either let it free itself or carefully cut away at the netting.People often have trouble keeping newly purchased otocinclus alive. This is due to a number ofreasons. First, most ottos are caught in the wild so they have to suffer long trips to get to theaquarium store. Then, often the stores do not take good care of the fish. They may keep them inclean tanks with nothing to eat but whatever prepared foods that the care giver dumps into thetank. Ottos prefer to eat soft algae and will not do well if they do not have any. So, by the timesomeone buys a few ottos, they are often weak and starving. If they are then added to a tankwithout algae, they soon die. If the tank does in fact have algae, the ottos may eat most of that inshort order and then starve, even with supplemental feeding. While ottos prefer to be in largergroups, it is important not to add too many to a tank. In a tank heavy with soft algae, one to threeottos per 10 gallons is fine but if the tank is too free of algae, it may not support more than oneotto per 50 gallons. If you cannot support at least two ottos, do not get them as a singleindividual will waste away for lack of companionship [That said, my last otto lived alone forhis/her last seven years!]. Often, after a batch of ottos are added, 20-80% of them die but thesurvivors may live for years since they have reached a sustainable population based on the algaeand other food available. Die offs of new otocinclus are also common due to their desired goodwater quality and sensitivity to many medications. Only add ottos to established tanks with goodwater quality and some attached algae.The Otocinclus Catfish is a great addition to a peaceful planted tank and a small school of them can form a great algae cleanup crew. Otocinclus Catfish like to hang out under and on plant leaves as well as sucking on the tank glass. However, Otocinclus Catfish can be a little reclusive at times and providing places to hide will help make them feel secure. Because they can be quite shy it's a good idea to avoid keeping them with overly aggressive tank mates or other fish large enough to eat them.
Otto cats are primarily herbivores so you will need to supplement the Otocinclus diet with algae wafers if you think they may not be getting enough algae to eat. Some hobbyists have difficulty in keeping them and it may stem from the tank not having enough algae present for grazing, improper acclimation, lack of hiding places, high nitrates and low oxygen levels. Stay on top of your water changes to prevent nitrates from getting out of hand.
Scientific Name : Otocinclus vestitus
Common Names : Otto, Oto Cat, Dwarf Sucking Catfish, Midget Sucker Fish.
Otocinclus Care Level : Easy but needs to be slowly acclimated and you must keep them in optimum water conditions by performing frequent partial water changes. Only add them to tanks that have completed the aquarium nitrogen cycle.
Size : Up to 2 inches (5 cm)
Temperature : 70°F - 78°F (21°C - 26°C)
PH: 6 - 7.5
Lifespan : 3 - 5 years
Origin / Habitat : South America
Otocinclus Catfish Temperament / Behavior : This is a very peaceful catfish and does well when kept in small schools, Best for planted community tank.
Otocinclus Catfish Breeding : They can be difficult to breed in the home aquarium. They will lay eggs on plant leaves.
Aquarium Size : 20 gallon or larger.
Otocinclus Catfish Tank Mates : Many, given their peaceful nature. Avoid keeping with fish large enough to eat them and fish that are overly aggressive.
Diet / Foods : Herbivores, you may need to supplement their diet with algae wafers
Gender : The male is usually smaller than a female of the same age.Be sure to keep water well filtered and moving steadily, with Ammonia and Nitrites 0 ppm, and Nitrates very low as well. And be sure to conduct regular partial water changes to make sure tank water keeps its buffering capacity. Be careful with sudden shifts in water temperature or parameters as they can really stress Otocinclus Catfish and even cause them to die soon thereafter.