Can i keep a small shoal of Otoginglus in small gravel

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Country joe

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In the book encyclopedia of Aquarium Fish, the author Gina Sandford does not advise keeping bottom dwelling fish which like to dig as this small gravel scratches their bodies and can damage their barbels has anyone had these fish in small gravel and were they okay.
 
In the book encyclopedia of Aquarium Fish, the author Gina Sandford does not advise keeping bottom dwelling fish which like to dig as this small gravel scratches their bodies and can damage their barbels has anyone had these fish in small gravel and were they okay.


She's right about many bottom dwellers, and if we were talking about corydoras, I'd agree! :D

But fortunately, otos are grazers, and don't dig into the substrate the way some bottom dwellers like corydoras do, so yes, they'd be fine with gravel so long as it's smooth. I'd avoid rough, jagged substrate, but a smooth pea or normal gravel won't bother them at all. :)

Mine are in a tank that's half sand, half gravel. :) They tend to be found suckered to the glass, grazing on leaves, resting and sitting around on wood and decor, plants and decor, maybe sometimes sitting on the substrate, or eating on some food from the substrate, but they are suckermouthed... they graze on the soft algae, biofilm, diatoms, and other tiny organisms found in healthy, established tanks. :)

In my oto tank, I never clean the inside glass on the back, and one side, and let algae grow there on purpose for the otos and other tiny fish I have in there. :)

It's great that you want to get a group, they do like to be in groups of six or more.. but they also struggle hard with shipping and are delicate, so better to only get them once your tank is well established, and you're confident you have plenty of food for them to graze on. Then choose healthy specimens in store. Look for healthy, round tummies - if the tummy isn't round, or is concave, the fish is starving :( So it's important to be careful when preparing to get them, then when choosing the store, the stocking, and the health of the fish you see when you're ready to buy!


They're wonderful little fish! One of my absolute favourites. Can I ask how long ago you set up the tank, please? What size is it and what other stocking is/will be in there?
 
In the book encyclopedia of Aquarium Fish, the author Gina Sandford does not advise keeping bottom dwelling fish which like to dig as this small gravel scratches their bodies and can damage their barbels has anyone had these fish in small gravel and were they okay.
No idea about "otoginglus", but otocinclus are not really bottom dwelling fish, and they don't dig, so they'll be fine on gravel.
 
No idea about "otoginglus",

Hey man, no need to tease, Latin is a dead language, and it's hard! :lol:

One of my biggest regrets in life is not taking the optional class to lean Latin when I was in secondary school! I remember being like "pppfft! I have enough mandatory schoolwork to do, why would I take an optional extra class to learn Latin? When would I ever need to know that?" Because I was a daft 13/14 yr old, and hadn't grasped how much it's still used in medicine and biology. Or root words and language origins.

Hey, maybe I should sign up for a Latin class as an adult. I'm always impressed when my horticultural friends can spout off the latin names for various plants and trees whenever we're out somewhere. I helped them revise those names even, back when we were in college together, but I can't remember much. Wish I'd paid more attention then!
but otocinclus are not really bottom dwelling fish, and they don't dig, so they'll be fine on gravel.

Agreed. :)
Still one of my favourite photos of one my first otos! :D Adorable little fish.


my oto leaf.JPG
 
She's right about many bottom dwellers, and if we were talking about corydoras, I'd agree! :D

But fortunately, otos are grazers, and don't dig into the substrate the way some bottom dwellers like corydoras do, so yes, they'd be fine with gravel so long as it's smooth. I'd avoid rough, jagged substrate, but a smooth pea or normal gravel won't bother them at all. :)

Mine are in a tank that's half sand, half gravel. :) They tend to be found suckered to the glass, grazing on leaves, resting and sitting around on wood and decor, plants and decor, maybe sometimes sitting on the substrate, or eating on some food from the substrate, but they are suckermouthed... they graze on the soft algae, biofilm, diatoms, and other tiny organisms found in healthy, established tanks. :)

In my oto tank, I never clean the inside glass on the back, and one side, and let algae grow there on purpose for the otos and other tiny fish I have in there. :)

It's great that you want to get a group, they do like to be in groups of six or more.. but they also struggle hard with shipping and are delicate, so better to only get them once your tank is well established, and you're confident you have plenty of food for them to graze on. Then choose healthy specimens in store. Look for healthy, round tummies - if the tummy isn't round, or is concave, the fish is starving :( So it's important to be careful when preparing to get them, then when choosing the store, the stocking, and the health of the fish you see when you're ready to buy!


They're wonderful little fish! One of my absolute favourites. Can I ask how long ago you set up the tank, please? What size is it and what other stocking is/will be in there?
It is a Juwel Rio 125 aquarium 27.5 gallon, I've had it up and running for four days, used API tap water conditioner and Seachem Stability, my real plants are in with liquid fertiliser added. The fish I'm looking at having is mainly Tetras, I'm looking at Ember Tetra, Green Tetra, Black Neon Tetra, and Neon Tetra,, and one or two Honey Gourami. Obviously not having them all but the Tetras I will end up with will be in shoals of 10, the Otoginglus I'm thinking of just two.
 
Oto’s are bio film eaters, and there is not much bio film on a newly set up tank… I supplement Repashi and Bacter A E for any fish that eats bio film… even though the Bacter A E is designed as a shrimp supplement, I think it adds to the bio film that those fish eat as well…
There is a high death rate on them, as they don’t often get enough to eat in shipping and wholesale tanks where lots are housed in the same tanks, without sufficient food
 
Oto’s are bio film eaters, and there is not much bio film on a newly set up tank… I supplement Repashi and Bacter A E for any fish that eats bio film… even though the Bacter A E is designed as a shrimp supplement, I think it adds to the bio film that those fish eat as well…
There is a high death rate on them, as they don’t often get enough to eat in shipping and wholesale tanks where lots are housed in the same tanks, without sufficient food
Roughly how long would you leave a new tank before adding them ?
 
Roughly how long would you leave a new tank before adding them ?

Minimum of three months after cycling, ideally, six months. It takes a while to get a tank fully established, and patience is often a hard learned lesson in this hobby, sadly! But that's why it's good to do the research and ask these sorts of questions before going ahead and getting the fish, so want to make sure to give you kudos for that!


Lots of threads here if you search for "otocinclus care" or similar, it's well worth being prepared before getting them, giving the plants time to establish and begin growing in, algae, microcritters, and biofilms to begin colonising the tank, and really stable water parameters. That all takes time. A tank is usually stable by about three months in, if maintained properly, and what we'd call "established" at around six months or more.

Sadly, all the otos available in stores are wild caught. They're a delicate fish that struggles, they often use toxins like cyanide to stun the fish in order to catch them, then warehouse them in huge containers before shipping out batches to different stores across the world. They're one of the most tricky fish to ship, because they're grazers, wild caught, not used to commercial foods and don't always take to them right away... many starve and die when being caught, warehoused, and during shipping. It's also not uncommon for fish stores to get a batch of otos, and find most dead on arrival. Or a lot of them, then can struggle to get them eating in store tanks, since those aren't usually coated with algae, biofilm and live plants either. So if the wild caught, highly stressed and starving fish make it to the store alive, then to your tank - if the fish aren't getting enough to eat, haven't adapted to commercial foods, were warehoused for too long or couldn't handle the stress of the whole process, people often buy a group only to lose most or all of them within the first weeks. :(

I warn you of all that not to put you off - as I said, they're wonderful fish! But so you'll be informed and can wait until your tank is ready for them, get a larger group (remember they live in groups of thousands in the wild - having two doesn't work... people sometimes "Noah's Ark" a tank and get two of each species, thinking "he has a friend at least", but that doesn't work for the fish. People often do only keep one or two as algae cleaners, but they thrive better, and are more likely to breed - if you get a larger group number. You can also be prepared in advance for the kinds of foods they need, and know what to look out for when you choose your otos from a store, so you have the best chance of them making it. :)


It is a Juwel Rio 125 aquarium 27.5 gallon, I've had it up and running for four days, used API tap water conditioner and Seachem Stability, my real plants are in with liquid fertiliser added.
Cool, what method are you using to cycle the tank? Have you added any beneficial bacteria/ammonia? Do you have a water testing kit?

The fish I'm looking at having is mainly Tetras, I'm looking at Ember Tetra, Green Tetra, Black Neon Tetra, and Neon Tetra,, and one or two Honey Gourami. Obviously not having them all but the Tetras I will end up with will be in shoals of 10, the Otoginglus I'm thinking of just two.

Definitely need to wait a while for the fish I'm afraid, cycling takes a while, but it does give you time to plan and choose what fish you really like, and research them before deciding what you want! :)
 
Minimum of three months after cycling, ideally, six months. It takes a while to get a tank fully established, and patience is often a hard learned lesson in this hobby, sadly! But that's why it's good to do the research and ask these sorts of questions before going ahead and getting the fish, so want to make sure to give you kudos for that!


Lots of threads here if you search for "otocinclus care" or similar, it's well worth being prepared before getting them, giving the plants time to establish and begin growing in, algae, microcritters, and biofilms to begin colonising the tank, and really stable water parameters. That all takes time. A tank is usually stable by about three months in, if maintained properly, and what we'd call "established" at around six months or more.

Sadly, all the otos available in stores are wild caught. They're a delicate fish that struggles, they often use toxins like cyanide to stun the fish in order to catch them, then warehouse them in huge containers before shipping out batches to different stores across the world. They're one of the most tricky fish to ship, because they're grazers, wild caught, not used to commercial foods and don't always take to them right away... many starve and die when being caught, warehoused, and during shipping. It's also not uncommon for fish stores to get a batch of otos, and find most dead on arrival. Or a lot of them, then can struggle to get them eating in store tanks, since those aren't usually coated with algae, biofilm and live plants either. So if the wild caught, highly stressed and starving fish make it to the store alive, then to your tank - if the fish aren't getting enough to eat, haven't adapted to commercial foods, were warehoused for too long or couldn't handle the stress of the whole process, people often buy a group only to lose most or all of them within the first weeks. :(

I warn you of all that not to put you off - as I said, they're wonderful fish! But so you'll be informed and can wait until your tank is ready for them, get a larger group (remember they live in groups of thousands in the wild - having two doesn't work... people sometimes "Noah's Ark" a tank and get two of each species, thinking "he has a friend at least", but that doesn't work for the fish. People often do only keep one or two as algae cleaners, but they thrive better, and are more likely to breed - if you get a larger group number. You can also be prepared in advance for the kinds of foods they need, and know what to look out for when you choose your otos from a store, so you have the best chance of them making it. :)



Cool, what method are you using to cycle the tank? Have you added any beneficial bacteria/ammonia? Do you have a water testing kit?



Definitely need to wait a while for the fish I'm afraid, cycling takes a while, but it does give you time to plan and choose what fish you really like, and research them before deciding what you want! :)
as I've said used API tap water and stability my local dealer has told me to leave for a week then test water and if okay add four fish, which would be small Tetras.
 
I would say don't get Otos until you have good algae growth in the tank.

The main issue with them isn't adapting to commercial foods, it's the fact that in the holding tanks between being caught and being shipped, they're usually not fed, so their gut bacteria die off, which means then they can't even feed in a tank full of algae, because we need gut bacteria to digest plants.
They can be "recovered" by putting them in a tank with fish that have gut bacteria, because a few always come out in poop, and herbivores that have lost theirs will replenish them by eating the poop of healthy herbivores. Same with any herbivorous fish.
 
Never ever listen to fish store advice. If you do what they say you'll find yourself doing a fish-in cycle with probably daily water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite low. Many store workers believe that these products cycle a tank instantly - they don't. TwoTankAmin has explained why Stability is unlikely to cycle a tank properly (wrong species of bacteria)

Since you intend live plants, if you have a lot of fast growing plants, plant the tank and wait until they are actively growing - taking a photo of the newly planted tank gives you something to compare the plants to. Then once there's a lot of new growth, you can start adding fish, one species at a time, testing for ammonia and nitrite every day. if they stay at zero, good. if they show above zero, do a water change.
Fish settle in better if you get the whole shoal at the same time. So one shoal, then wait until you are certain the levels are staying at zero, then the next shoal.
If you only have/intend a few slow growing plants, then do a fishless cycle with ammonia before getting any fish.


As the others have said, otos need a mature tank, that is one that has been running trouble free for 6 months or more. And they need a shoal not just one or two.
 
I have a fish with similar dietary needs to Otocinclus in an old, established 40 gallon, but I have a small lamp with a growlight pointed at the corner back wall. It comes on when the main lights go off, and the algae growth in that corner feeds the fish.

As people noted above, most Otocinclus starve to death. They're very easy to catch, living in dense populations, often on floating vegetation. Scoop the plants up, sort the net, and apparently, you get large numbers of them. So common Otos sell cheaply as fish to eat algae. No one mentions they're fish that need you to cultivate algae. They clean the tank, and then they starve, otherwise.

Because they have such specialized food needs, no one feeds them after they're caught. They are sold as quickly as possible, and may not get a good meal until they're in your tank. They are already in distress by then. If your tank is too new and doesn't have the micro-organisms they need (or if you have an older tank you overclean), they are doomed.
 
I have a fish with similar dietary needs to Otocinclus in an old, established 40 gallon, but I have a small lamp with a growlight pointed at the corner back wall. It comes on when the main lights go off, and the algae growth in that corner feeds the fish.

As people noted above, most Otocinclus starve to death. They're very easy to catch, living in dense populations, often on floating vegetation. Scoop the plants up, sort the net, and apparently, you get large numbers of them. So common Otos sell cheaply as fish to eat algae. No one mentions they're fish that need you to cultivate algae. They clean the tank, and then they starve, otherwise.

Because they have such specialized food needs, no one feeds them after they're caught. They are sold as quickly as possible, and may not get a good meal until they're in your tank. They are already in distress by then. If your tank is too new and doesn't have the micro-organisms they need (or if you have an older tank you overclean), they are doomed.
Cant you feed them pellets that sink to the bottom of the tank
 
Cant you feed them pellets that sink to the bottom of the tank
Because they are wild caught, they do not know how to eat these yet at the time you buy them usually. If they do not have real biofilm, they will not live long enough to figure the other stuff out.
 
Because they are wild caught, they do not know how to eat these yet at the time you buy them usually. If they do not have real biofilm, they will not live long enough to figure the other stuff out.
This. It's like buying sheep and giving them dog food. They just won't recognise it as food.
 

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