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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so a few months ago, my boyfriend's dad put two sucker fish (otos? i dont know my little algae eaters very well) into their goldfish tank after their snails who were the primary clean up crew died.

They did fairly well at first, but now one of them looks like it's wasting away. Just looks TINY compared to the other. The bigger one could still be a lot fatter. They must be running out of food because they don't eat any of the fish flakes the goldfish do. Now it's not my tank so I cant just take him out of there, but I can try to feed him. I was thinking of getting algae wafers but I think the goldfish would gobble them up before the two would even notice. I was also thinking about vegetables but this family just never has any greens in their fridge :-( and I don't have any suitable fruits or veggies at home I could bring. Like, I know bak choy is just gonna get torn to pieces by the goldfish within like two seconds.

I hear you can grow algae on rocks. Anyone with experience on this?
Or any ideas on how to feed the lil guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
im seriously considering just buying a cucumber after work and sticking a slice in there because these fish look so sad.
 

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Hopefully someone with more experience than me could chime in - but I'd start with algae wafers or veggies (zucchini, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach or other leafy greens). To give the poor guys a chance - I'd drop them in the tank when it's dark if possible - maybe that would help them get to it before the goldfish would notice. I don't know if it will make the same difference with a goldfish that it would with other fish though.

You *can* grow algae on rocks, but it's going to take a while. You just put smooth rocks in a container of water in the sun, but it's going to take a few weeks for it to colonize. These guys sound like they need food now.
 

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Could you post a picture of your fish?

If it is an Oto, Goldfish don't make very good tank-mates for them. Otocinclus are very delicate fish and are tropical unlike a goldfish. They require higher temperatures between 74–79° and an algae based diet. Most, if not all are imported from the wild.

I would suggest feeding algae wafers after the lights go out as GA mentioned. I use NLS Algae wafers. Zucchini is usually a big hit with loricariids. Boil it for a minute or two and weigh in down with a rock or something. The goldfish will eat the zucchini as well so I would perhaps try putting the food in a PVC pipe cave that is too small for the goldfish. I have a terracotta pipe cave for my Clown Pleco. I use a long pair of tweezers to put her algae wafers directly in her cave where the other fish can't get at it. Algae clips might work too. Try a piece of spinach or romaine lettuce, boil it for a little bit to soften it up for them. You can use feeding tubes as well. I use them for keeping my tetras from grabbing sinking pellets away from my bottom feeding cichlids.

If worse comes to worst, you can always rig a small divider in the tank so the Oto's have their own space. Ideally, they should be re-homed without the goldfish.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I may be upgrading to a 12 x 12 tank for my betta and if that happens then the best I can do is MAYBE move them to that tank. Theyre really not in the best situation. I have a suspicion that they may be chinese algae eaters after looking at pictures of some otos... They don't look exactly like the otos I'm seeing on google. I'll try to get a picture after work.
 

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I think Siamese Algae Eaters look similar to otocinclus as well. If they are Chinese Algae Eaters, I believe the bigger they get, the more aggressive they become, and they often stop eating algae and start feeding on the slime coat of other fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Uh oh... :shock: Today the little one is gasping for air rapidly and not moving. The bigger one seems fine, zipping around, breathing at least twice slower than the little one.

I want to take the little one out and put him in the spec I'm working on for my betta or in with my betta in his current .75 elive betta cube. It would be grossly overstocked but sharing a heated and heavily planted <1g that gets regular water changes with a betta still sounds better for this guy than a freezing cold overstocked goldfish tank that has piss coloured water because the water is never changed... If my parents let me I'll be getting a 10.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 five gallon cube from my cousin so the lil guy could also go in there if he survives till then...

I could double the water changes in my betta cube to accommodate him temporarily... my only concern is that this fish may be sick with something contagious. Or maybe he can have the cube to himself and I can move my betta into the bare bones spec immediately... If only my boyfriend would let me! He wants me to ask his parents first after they get back from vacation :evil:

Pretty sure they are chinese algae eaters. They've got this blotchy stripe. Keep trying to tell my boyfriend that they will eat his goldfish but he really doesn't want me to take them out. Keeps trying to tell me they'll all be fine. I haven't even gotten started with him about how overstocked his goldfish are. :-(
I'll post pics later. The lil guy is about the size of a few pieces of gravel which are the same colour as him so he's hard to take pictures of.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've gotten the okay for the 5 gallon. Will probably return my spec in that case and use the money to buy some supplies to aquascape with. Hopefully the algae eater survives and i can convince someone that the fish is actually going to die if it stays in there after the vacation. REALLY worried about this fish because it seems that the lack of food is not his only problem.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about the fish and the terrible conditions :-( I'm honestly surprised they've survived this long. Goldfish produce massive amounts of waste and without water changes (preferably at least 2x weekly) I'm sure the ammonia in that tank is way off the charts.
I'm betting the little guy has ammonia poisoning. A clean tank is probably the best you can do at the moment to give him a chance. And food! Pick up some algae wafers from a pet store if you can. Do you have any veggies such as zucchini?
 

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First off of you don't know what exact type of fish it is you really should not buy it. Research first is best and every fish has different needs and are not compatable with certain other fish/tank environments. Example: plecos should not be kept with goldfish as plecos come from warm waters (80Fs) and goldfish are cold water fish.

If you do have otos they have maybe a 50/50 chance or more that it's already half dead at the petstore as they are wild caught and stressed and starved the whole way to the store. Some fish can go a month without food but otos are constant foragers so that can be fatal. Getting them to learn food is food can be hard, best thing to do is let diatoms (aka brown alage) grow in the tank for a few months BEFORE getting otos as that's a natur food for them. Note otos do not eat: black beard, green spot, blue green, hair, or staghorn algae. But they can earn to each blanched veggies (commonly used:cucumber, zucchini, Romans lettuce, spinach) and alage wafers that do NOT have large amounts of fish/shrimp meal as they aren't carnivores. How long it takes for them to figure out veggies and wafers are food varies. Try putting the food near were they most commonly hang out to get them to land on it and try a nibble.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They're chinese algae eaters that my boyfriend's dad probably bought at the local petsmart
 

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@Aqua - from what I understand these aren't the OP's fish. As best I can understand they are fish that have been added to the tank of someone they know - and the OP is trying to give them a fighting chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To give you guys an update I bought some omega one veggie rounds from petsmart. The ingredients seemed fairly high quality and figured I could feed them to my snail if the fish didn't eat it.

So I dropped two into the aquarium yesterday and the algae eaters didnt really react. The goldfish were very interested though. I had to leave shortly after dropping them and they were gone by the time I got back so I can only hope that the bigger fish made a move on them.

The lil guy seems pretty uninterested in food or moving. He has this trail of whitish poop thats been hanging off of him for days now. When I went to petsmart I saw algae eaters like them except they were like four times the size and looked considerably healthier :( These guys must have some pretty stunted growth
 

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Discussion Starter #14
They straight up ignore veggie rounds. They will sit next to them and not even care. The little one perked up for a day; he actually swam around and suctioned to the walls. But the next day he was back to bottom sitting. Boyfriend has finally agreed to ask his parent to let me take him when they get back.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The story has come to an end through the most tragic possible turn of events. I set up my tank and let it get established and finally the family came back from vacation. Boyfriend asked if I could get the fish and got a pretty ambiguous answer kinda like "well it's not like the fish is gonna live anyway if she takes it" but it wasn't a definite no so it was promising. Before I left the house that night I looked into the fish tank and saw that little fishy looked like a shriveled raisin but was still breathing. I knew I didn't have much time left.

Next day (as in today) I went over to their house and first thing I did was go and check on the tank... Couldn't find little fish meanwhile there was a very suspicious dead fish corpse at the side of the tank. I've seen the goldfish in the tank dig up bones out of the gravel from apparent past fish deaths before so I paid it no mind and continued looking for little fishy. I guess this was the denial stage of grieving. Couldn't find him so I took a closer look at the corpse... It was most definitely the pale mangled body of poor little fishy. His head was missing and he looked like he got chewed up in general by the goldfish. It was appalling.

I cried for hours. The dad later said that we could have just taken him out while they were gone if we were actually that worried about it... so hearing that triggered me into being pretty upset with my boyfriend for not believing me when i said the fish would die, preventing me from straight up just taking the fish when things weren't yet too dire, and also for flat out refusing to ask his family about the fish whenever they called him to check up on him while they were away because he "wanted to ask in person" or something stupid like that. He didn't take it seriously until way too late.

So all in all it's been an awful day for me. They seem to have no intention of taking the body out of the water so i guess poor little fishy is just gonna decompose and add to the piss yellowness of the water. It all just kills me inside because I'm a) resentful that I wasn't taken seriously and the fish died as a result and b) I'm confident I could have extended its life if I had been given a chance.

On the flip side, the chinese algae eater that is still alive is getting huge and looks to be thriving and is constantly moving and eating despite the cold dirty water that killed its buddy. I hope this fish lives long and grows to be a full foot in length so that this family learns to do its research before condemning a fish to a potentially very sad end.
 
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