Oto cats - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Oto cats

I'm looking for something to eat the algae in my tank. I can't find Nerite snails anywhere around here. I read that Otos will eat algae off plants (which is what I need most right now), and I know they stay small, but my problem is that my tank is 10 gallons divided 3 ways. If I got a snail, I could just move it from section to section to clean each section. I can't really do that with an Oto- I'm sure it would be stressful to it for me to net it every few days to move it to another section of the tank. But what if I got 3- one for each section? Is that too many? Then I will have 6 fish in a 10 gallon. Will my bettas pick on them, especially since it will be the only other fish in each one's section?
I know Ramshorn snails and Malaysian trumpet snails supposedly also eat algae... has anyone had any experience with keeping these snails with bettas? Will the betta eat them?
Any advice?


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 10:15 AM
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I have 3 otos in my 29g sorority and they are doing a great job with the algae on plants..in fact they refuse all other food I offer them because they're getting enough from the plants and decor alone. I also have MTS and honestly I don't know if they're doing anything, lol. I think the otos are more efficient, for sure. I know they like to be kept in groups but it is possible to keep them by themselves.

Aqadvisor says your tank would be 89% stocked if you had the 3 bettas and 3 otos, so I'd think it'd be fine? You can try snails too, my females don't seem to bother the adult MTS that I have but they did eat all the tiny pond snails that came in on my plants (yay).

You could also try Amano shrimp, they're supposed to be good algae eaters too!

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Great. Thanks! They eat brown algae too, right? I just read something that said they eat green algae but didn't say anything about brown algae.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 10:54 AM
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Otos need a 20 gallon AT LEAST to live happily.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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But they only grow to be 2 inches...


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 11:08 AM
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I kept an oto in a 2g for a few months in college...it did great, until it ran out of algae and died....I didn't know back then that you might need to supplement their diets. I've even heard of them breeding in a 5g, so I guess I don't really know.

I think they're mostly feeding on diatoms/brown algae in my tank. I can't really see whatever they're eating, but they are fat so they must be eating something, lol.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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I'm reading two totally different things online about their minimum tank size. Some say 20-30 gallons minimum, and other sites say 5 gallons minimum... This is weird. I guess it's similar to what you find when you google the minimum tank size for a betta.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 01:45 PM
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Otocinclus are schooling fish. I would not advise keeping one on its own, which is basically what you are going to be doing in a divided 10 gallon tank.

Otos are also quite an active little fish, and the 3 or so gallons each one is going to get, is not really big enough in my opinion. I kept a trio of otocinclus in a 30 gallon tank and they used a surprising amount of that space to swim and move about.

Otos also only eat certain types of algae. They will sometimes starve if there is not enough food and they don't make the transition over to other food sources. The amount of algae a oto can consume in a 24 hour period is pretty astonishing. They are constantly grazing so I do not think it would take long to clear a 3 gallon space.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 01:47 PM
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I say go with the snails. Your tank would be pretty close to totally stocked, but I'd be worried about oto's in such a small space.

I love my ramshorns they do a great job at cleaning, although they produce a lot of waste, its worth it in my mind. Especially when you have a lot of algea like I do. You might have some babies since they are a-sexual, but they generally lay eggs on the tank wall or on leaves so if you see them just scrape them off or crush them and you wont have any babies.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I guess I'll wait until I get my 50 gallon to get Otos.
aemaki- where did you get your Ramshorns? It doesn't look like Petco or Petsmart sell them.


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