Oto catfish? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Oto catfish?

Has anyone kept Oto catfish successfully for a month or more?

Reason I am asking is because I have a few of these cute fish and I have heard some horror stories. From anything from them dieing less than 24 hours to 1 month later. Also, there is little to no information about them. Most information I have found is VERY outdated or just doesn't make a lot of sense. Also, the care involved is also, once again, VERY varied. No one can agree on tank size, temperature, pH, etc. The only parameters they agree on is 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and 0 Nitrates. That and a heavily planted tank (most preferably live plants). And the BARE minimum is like 2-3 in a tank. As they like to shoal and/or school together.

Also, the food they eat is varied (depending on the owner). However, I have learned if they won't touch Algae Wafers to try fresh veggies (such as zucchini, spinach, etc.). Mine seem to like lettuce and green beans. I have heard people using canned green beans for their Oto Cats. I am trying a Zucchini disk today (blanched for a little over 2 minutes).

So far, no one has died on me and everyone seems happy. Fat bellies, active, eating lots, and pooping lots (found out they are poop machines ).

Any who, I got distracted. I was wondering if anyone has successfully kept Otos (or a single oto) in anything less than 10 gallons? If so, how did you do it? If you keep them in 10 gallons or higher, how do you do it? Anything you have learned by keeping these fish (maybe something that isn't covered on the net)? What temperature do you keep yours at? Are they fine in a non planted tank? Are they fine in a plastic/silk planted tank?

Reasons for the questions, I am thinking of doing a fake planted tank of 10 gallons or higher. Most suggest using live plants. However, I am wondering if fake ones would work. So long as the colors are not to outrageous. More natural pieces and maybe some decorations that are cave like.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 12:01 PM
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I had two in my 10 gallon. One was fine, one died in 24 hours. The live one I had for 1 month. He died about a week ago. I noticed my heater malfunctioned and got to 84 degrees. He was fine until then. I don't know if that is what did it or not. His death was a mystery to me.

Petsmart is having an 8 day sale, select algae eaters $1.00 (have to check their site I don't remember what days)

I love/hate live plants. They can be a pain at times, but they are beautiful. Honestly I will go fake if my life ones die on me.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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I got mine from PetDepot and they were about 2 bucks before taxes. I have kept them for over a week now and they seem fine. Right now I have them in my planted tank, but like you I am finding live plants can be a pain. Pretty and they seem to be growing well, but still a pain. Even with the right substrate, environment, etc. So far no plant has died on me and my tank has been planted a while now.

Also, I have found a lot pet stores sale "wild" caught Oto catfish. Hence the large die off. The stress of being caught, shipped, and then put into less favorable conditions (massive community tanks). Usually they are starved to death before they reach someone's home. Maybe I will get lucky and the ones I have will live. I am hoping any way.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 01:07 PM
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My parents had one that lived maybe two years quite some time back. It wasn't kept in the best of conditions either - water changes were 80%-100% every six months or more. Lived off what little algae was in the tank plus any fish food that wasn't eaten.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 01:29 PM
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We only have one, but it shoals with our pygmy cories. It also claims part of the algae wafers that are tossed in, or the spirulina flakes that I throw in there for our little "Squash". We have 4 live plants and a marimo, and it looks like Squash has it's work cut out for it. We also have a large piece of driftwood (it's a 30gal)

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 03:12 PM
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I successfully kept two in a non planted 10 gallon for six months. The only reason I got them was because there was so much brown algae EVERYWHERE in my tank. It was gone in a week! They LOVED boiled zucchini and cucumber and algae wafers. I feel they would still be alive today, if I hadn't something very stupid. You see, I did not know what QTing was until maybe two months ago. I only learned about water changes last October! But I added a third friend and then BAM. Dead fish. My Betta was being isolated for fin rot and i was constantly caring for both tanks, but the new guy killed them fast. Luckily Pigg wasn't in the tank, but I really miss Penny and Simon :(

I will soon be getting six new Otos for a 30g, as I really do love them to bits. They are so funny and cute and totally worth it. That whole thing with the don't buy them within 24 hours of the store getting them is a myth. I was a complete noob with my first guys, usually they just starve to death because there isn't enough algae :/

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 03:40 PM
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I have 2 oto cats in a 5 gallon, believe it or not.

All it takes is a cycled tank and good care to make sure all the fish are content and healthy.

The one oto I've had since October and the other was I belive January.

Unlike other schooling fish, otos don't get devastated if they are alone, as I've discovered.

I don't feed them algae tablets or cucumbers often, mainly because I switch tank sides. One side will develop lots of algae and herefore I will put them on that side as it builds up, and so on and so forth. But when I do feed algae tablets, it's insane xD

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 03:49 PM
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I have kept many different types of otos but generally some last longer then others. They are shipped in poor conditions and arrive to stores starved and in poor condition. Thats the reason many don't last long or atleast where I live.
I have always kept mine in 15L + but I will be getting a few with Rose in a 12L.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 04:43 PM
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12L is way too small to house a betta (I'm assuming that's what Rose is) and otocinclus. That's only 3 gallons.

Believe it or not otocinclus are quite active fish. I had three in a 30 gallon tank and over the course of the day they went everywhere.

I don't understand the bias some people have about keeping bettas in nothing less than 5 gallons, but they are perfectly happy to cram other species of fish into a smaller space.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the size of tank for Oto catfish is varied (from the research thus far). It can be any where from 5 gallon to 30 gallon minimum tanks. I guess it depends on the volume of Otos bought and kept. Not to mention owner and experience of the person writing the article. Trust me, most information I have found is varied when it comes to these fish. I have done a lot of research in care, feeding, etc. There isn't a whole lot of information and there isn't much agreement on said information.

That being said, what experience I have gained thus far (and over the years), so long as you are careful and do things right.. you can get most fish to live happy and long lives.
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