Nippy Oto? (probably a stupid question) - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Nippy Oto? (probably a stupid question)

So a few weeks ago I found myself with an Oto and a male Betta sharing a planted five-gallon, because I did a stupid and listened to the pet store lady, and because the algae is getting ridiculous. I'm aware it's a bit crowded, I'm looking into possibly getting a 10-gallon, but it's going to be a while because of fund and room issues.
At first, my betta didn't seem to like him at all; would flare and chase him every time he moved, but never seemed to actually catch him much, and when he did, never seemed to connect or bite, so I left them to sort themselves out. Now they look to have settled into a sort of mutually antagonistic, somewhat peaceful cohabitation; The betta only chases the Oto about half the time, now. I think it's because the Oto is getting to be about his size.
My only question is this, twice now I've seen the Oto chase and try to feed off the betta's fins. Is he nipping? Can Otos even nip or is he just being irritating back to the betta for chasing him off the big algae patch on the log again? or is my tank just that saturated in algae that my betta is starting to grow it on his fins? (I've been changing the water weekly, I cut the photoperiod, I've been pulling a lot out, it's not a dirty tank, it's just ridiculous algae.)
My betta is getting some raged ends on two of his fins. I know it's not the filter this time, because it's set to barely a trickle, and there's no signs of fin rot that I can see, no grey or black or white, just a little clear new growth, so I'm thinking either he's stressed and biting his own fins or he's blowing his fins working himself up over the Oto.

My biggest problem is, if I absolutely cannot keep the Oto in there for whatever reason, I don't really have anywhere else to put him. I'm working on finding the time and money to throw into a larger tank, but it's not really something I can put on priority right now. I don't have any friends with tanks who could take him, and I'm hesitant about asking a pet store to take him; I've gotten kinda fond of the little guy.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 09:54 AM
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You might not have an otocinclus. You might have a chinese algae eater. Google photos of both and let us know which you have. Chinese algae eaters are known for chewing on other fish
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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I want to say he's an Oto. He's got the long solid stripe down the side from his nose to a black spot on his tail, and he looks more Oto-shaped. I really hope he's not a Chinese Algae Eater...those get huge, right?
I really wish I could get a good picture of him, but of course as soon as I go for my phone he decides he really must go and eat the algae behind the log.

Last edited by Esahc; 05-26-2013 at 10:42 AM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 11:16 AM
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 11:17 AM
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The first 2 are chinese, the second 2 are otos.
Chinese are browner and more energetic.
Otos are darker and cuter.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 01:12 PM
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Otos are also tiny - if it is getting closer to over 2 inches I'd bet it wasn't an oto. I had crazy Algae in my tank, i've had Otos now for about 2 months, my tank sparkles now and I swear the only thing that has grown on them is their belly. My otos wouldn't dream of going near another fish except when they are having skitzo moments and think they are a corydory, and school with them. (cutest damn thing ever!!)

It is what it is, you could just let them continue to work it out and provide more hiding spots (plants, caves, etc) There are some really cheap options to things.

28 cent tiny clay pots from Wal-Mart.
29 cent tubing plastic coupling pieces from a hardware store
2.00 - 2 to 5 inch piece of tubing glued together for a "house" type thing
2.50 Craft mesh cloth stitched, glued, or burned together into a tube and attached to the top of the water, right under.

I'm sure there are other economical options for hiding spots, as pretty much anything can be used. :)
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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He's definitely an oto. He looks almost exactly like the last picture there.
I'll see about adding a few more hiding spots then, and letting them work themselves out.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 08:47 PM
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It could well be stress-related. Otos are schooling fish and are much happier in groups of 5+. Obviously, you don't have the room for that yet, but try densely planting the tank to help balance out bioload issues and get two more otos. It's a totally not ideal stop-gap, but it may help. :)

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure about adding more fish; when I say that a larger tank won't be in the cards for a while, I mean the absolute earliest that it could possibly happen would be late october, and more likely early december; when my semester break and my off-season coincide. Before that, it's going to be a nonstop barrage of work and classwork, and I'll be lucky to get my normal tank maintenance done. I'm also worried about overstressing my betta; he's a grumpy little nerd as it is, and he's not particularly fond of his current roommate.

on a side note, I knew that lady was wrong. She assured me that it was the cories that schooled and the Otos would be fine as a solitary fish.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 02:09 PM
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I have heard of otos that will try to suck off the slime coat of other fish. It's unusual, but it does happen. They do it for the same reason that some fry do- it's a source of protein and aufwuchs. My immediate thought is that your oto is not getting enough to eat. What type of algae do you have in the tank? There are some types that otos won't touch. Do you supplement its diet at least once a week? If not, try a piece of blanched zucchini or Repashy Super Green- he hopefully will choose the zucchini over your betta. How does your otos belly look? It should be nice and plumply rounded. If it looks caved in, he's going hungryy.

"People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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