A great clean-up crew - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-24-2011, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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A great clean-up crew

Originally, I purchased four otocinclus to eat the diatoms that were growing in one of my tanks (it receives a lot of natural sunlight from my window).

However, due to some unprovoked violence from the original inhabitant, I decided to place them in a 20 gallon tank that had a lot of algae growing on the wood and glass. It houses a very peaceful wild betta female who spends much of her time hiding under a log.

Unfortunately, one of my otos sadly passed a day after I received it (was sent from interstate) and the other three had started doing this erratic swimming and twitching so I assumed they were on their way out too. I adjusted the flow on the filter to increase aeration and did a quick water change, but decided to leave them to their own devices. I chalked it up as an expensive lesson learned and vowed not to waste my money when a toothbrush and scraper would do.

You can imagine my surprise when I went down there to check on them and all three had chewed their way through a massive amount of algae. It took me a moment to realise that the hundreds of pellets scattered through the substrate was their poo. I never thought such a small fish could poo so much. It rivaled even my goldfish.

The tank they're living in doesn't have much done to it. The temperature is around 70-72 Fahrenheit and it gets two 25% water changes a week. The pH is around 6.0 and I have no idea what the parameters are. Yet my three otos have finally settled in, and are now as fat as ticks. I can see why shipping is so hard on them as they really need a constant supply of algae to feed on.

They definitely make for a great clean-up crew in established tanks.

Anyway, feel free to share any oto-related stories here. I was just amazed at how industrious these guys are. Although I think that I might have to do some more gravel vacuuming if that's how much waste they produce on a weekly basis.


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 12:19 AM
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I, too, was incredibly surprised and quite dismayed at how much otos can poo. The first batch I bought had literally coated the bottom of their bag on the 10 minute car ride from the pet store to home. There were only 3. I later returned them because of this, thinking that any creature that could poo that much must be sick. About a month later, facing an algae problem, my LFS talked me into buying more. This group of 3 didn't poop as much as the batch from Petsmart did but they still do an impressive "fertilization" job on the ground. But overnight, literally overnight, the new trio had cleaned up my algae-covered plants until they looked like they had just been planted. I was amazed. As far as I'm concerned, nothing can clean algae off plants like otos can.

I've heard that many otos are wild-caught and thus can sometimes be very sensitive and die easily.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I believe the method they use to catch them and the fact they don't have anything to eat while being shipped makes them more delicate than a lot of other common LFS species.

I was very surprised they would settle so well into that tank considering what it looks and smells like. However, I've found most of my blackwater fish (my killis and wild bettas) prefer a 'dirty' tank. It's a shame though as I really wanted those ottos to clean up my main display tank


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 03:56 AM
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don't forget you need to feed ur octos too .. either algae tabs or put a 15sec heated slice of cucumber cliped once a day ..

because they will run out of algae to eat in the tank .. and will need another source of food

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 11:10 PM
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My otos are so picky, they wouldn't eat any of the veggies I put in there for them. I'm pretty sure they get a chance at the algae wafers I stick in for everyone, though.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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For fish that are supposedly more comfortable in groups, mine hardly spend anytime together. They're scattered all through the tank.

I'm not sure how to get mine to eat veggies. So far they have been suctioned capped to the wood for the past few days. Luckily, I have lots of algae-covered wood for them to chew on. I'll just swap out pieces from my other wilds' tanks as I go.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 02:32 AM
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it took a while for my octo's to realize that cucumber slice was food .. like a week .. you have to microwave it for like 15 secs in a little bit of water to make it soft for them

it took even longer for them to realize that algae wafer is also food .. by this time they kept eating the cucumber to realize that i had bought them wafers to eat .. so i had to take their cucumber away for them to eat the wafer

i've got 5 in my 10g .. they clean up everything .. and eat everything i put in there .. also i noticed that they will clump together in like 3 and 2 O_o .. odd little guys .. but they are so fun to watch =D

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 02:47 AM
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LittleBettaFish, mine don't spend much time together either. My LFS told me they were actually solitary fish. o.O Based on that, I'm thinking of taking one and putting in a divided section of my 10g to see if it can clear up the algae in there. Sort of like little Merry Maids. :)

Hatsune, maybe I overboiled the veggies? I'll try again. My cory cats might like them too, and my platies. I'd like to offer veggies to my platies so they stop eating my Vesuvius Sword and wisteria.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 07:17 PM
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hehe i remember when i first got my octos .. and was putting their cucumber in .. and nimbus goes .. whats that *chomps* ... then goes blehhhhh *spits it out* ..

then when i got wafers .. he tries to take them from the octos' and carries it around in his mouth for a while till he realizes it taste bad and droped it ..

and the cucumber just needs to be a little softened .. not to mushy .. and not hard .. i microwave in 10 sec increments .. since not all cucumbers are the same .. when it feels a little squish to it it's done

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 07:24 PM
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Haha, the first betta I tried in my community tank carried the wafers around till they were soft enough to eat. He bloated up like a ping pong ball so he got removed (glutton!). The betta I have in there now can't figure out how to pick them up. He nips at it and it flips up and hits him in the face. I've watched him do that several times now. I hope he never learns the trick to picking it up.
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