Can i keep a small shoal of Otoginglus in small gravel

The April FOTM Contest Poll is open!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to vote! 🏆

Cant you feed them pellets that sink to the bottom of the tank

There are commercial and personally cultured foods you can supply for them - but as said above, these are wild fish that have been scooped out of their natural habitat, stored in overcrowded tanks and sometimes spend days in bags of water with no food being shipped across the world.

So they haven't been raised in a tank, eating algae wafers. It can take a long time for them to even recognise some commercial foods as being food - it's not the same as they'd eat in nature, and what's in the pellets you have in mind? Does the food you're trying to coax them to eat the right food for their nutritional needs?

Repashy soilent green is one food that seems to be doing really well for people that keep grazers like otos, and herbivorous plecs. But because it can take time for them to settle in, recover from the being caught/warehoused/shipped/displayed in a fish store/bought and taken home to your brand new tank, that doesn't have the natural algae and organisms that these fish naturally graze on, you're much more likely to lose the fish. That's all we're saying. They're a delicate fish that need stable conditions and an established tank.


There is a lot of misinformation out there, and bad fish store advice- because the staff either don't know, or they want to sell you the tank, decor, fish, and a load of products for you to add to try to speed up the process. Because naturally, most people when they get an aquarium, they want to fill it, get it running, add the fish, and have it all set up, beautiful, and "finished" in a week or two.

But that's a super common beginner mistake, and be wary of people giving you advice about tanks if they're trying to sell you something at the same time. Of course they're not going to say "your tank is brand new and not cycled yet, don't buy these otocinclus I have right here and am trying to sell right now - just get plants and some tetras for now, and wait six months for otos."

They're not going to say that and talk themselves out of a sale, you know? We're giving you this advice based on the welfare of the fish, and to try to help you avoid the common beginner mistakes that end up causing them problems in their aquarium before it's even really got going. We all gather and share our hobby and learn from each other. :) We're not trying to sell you any snake oil products promising a quick fix. We're not trying to sell anything, or charge anyone for advice ;) So our advice is based on personal experience, research, and learning from the personal experiences of others. We want healthy fish, more people joining and loving the hobby, and having long term success with the tank by planning it out ahead of time. So both you and the fish have the best chance of success. :)

If you're doing a planted cycle and adding schools gradually, as @Essjay recommended and many of us agree with, then you'd want to add the otos last anyway. You need to give each group at least a couple of weeks for the nitrifying bacterial colonies and plants adjust to handling the bioload of the new group of fish you just added, and to monitor them for at least 2-4 weeks, testing the water fairly often, to make sure they're healthy and the tank is getting well established, before adding the next group, etc. Ideally you'd also quarantine each new group for 2-4 weeks in a separate QT tank before adding them to your main display tank too... the last thing you want is to have the first group do well, add another group, then find they've introduced a disease or parasite or something to your main tank and now you're previously healthy fish.

Sorry for the long response! Trying to help, but not good at being concise, even at the best of times! Lots to learn in this hobby, but it's really rewarding when it winds up working out. :)

Seriously Fish is a really reliable, accurate dataset about most any species of fish you're likely to find in the hobby. Always worth googling "Seriously Fish otocinclus" or "seriouslyfish ember tetra", and reading their profiles on the fishe's needs, diet, suitability for your tank size and stocking etc. With so much misinformation out there, it's good to have a reliable site to get a good overview of any fish you're considering adding to your tank.

Here's their profile on one of the most common otocinclus species, but same advice for any otocinclus species, except zebra otos since they're much larger.


And here's their profile on Ember tetra. :)

And a really good article about otos and the care they need before buying them.
 
I've had my Zebra Oto for about a year & a half, & it doesn't eat any regular food... so some may never make the switch to prepared foods... doing the "Repashi sticks" ( see that thread ) from Rapashi Soilent Green, duplicates what they eat naturally... I also suspect that they are actually omnivores, & eat Aufwuchs ( a blend of algae & all the micro organisms that live in the algae is what makes up Aufwuchs ), in the wild...
 
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.
So if I leve my tank as it is, I know I have to test water but roughly how long would it be till i added fish weeks, or months, wouldn't want to wait 6 months.
 
you need to build up the bacteria that "eats" fish waste ( ammonia ) the beneficial bacteria will not grow, without food... there are several ways to do this, even adding ammonia to the tank ( before adding fish ) the bacteria needs food, in the form of ammonia, so just letting the tank sit there percolating, you won't grow any of the beneficial bacteria... no matter which method you use, you will need to test your water a lot, when you 1st set it up... having existing plants ( actively growing ) will help, by consuming some of the fish waste... & you could also just add a few fish, & do large daily water changes... the additives are said to help, but they are more a bandaid, than a cure...

in essence you are trying to make a system, that is as much self sustaining as possible ( at least one that will keep your water at safe levels between water changes...
 
So if I leve my tank as it is, I know I have to test water but roughly how long would it be till i added fish weeks, or months, wouldn't want to wait 6 months.


It depends.

If you have a lot of fast growing plants you can add fish once the plants are actively growing. This depends on how you treat the plants. Give them fertiliser and they should grow quickly. But there needs to be a good amount of plants and very obvious new growth. Slow growing plants like Java fern or anubias are slow growing and won't be able to remove all the ammonia made by fish. Stem plants are usually fast growing. And floating plants are particularly good at removing ammonia from the water.
An example - when I quarantine fish I set up the quarantine tank, buy a few bunches of eldoea at the same time as the fish and move a lot of floating plants from my main tank. By doing this I've never seen a trace of either ammonia or nitrite in the quarantine tank.
With a plant cycle, you need to add fish a few at a time with a few weeks between each fish addition to allow the plants to grow some more and bacteria to grow alongside the plants.

What plants do you have? Knowing that will help us to guide you better. And maybe a photo of the tank so we can see how many plants there are.




For slow growing plants, a fishless cycle using ammonia from a bottle is better. If the bottled bacteria work, it will speed up a cycle. I've done two fishless cycles, both with no added bottled bacteria and they both took 7 weeks.
With this method you can add most of your planned fish at the same time, just not the otos until a few months after.
 
There are commercial and personally cultured foods you can supply for them - but as said above, these are wild fish that have been scooped out of their natural habitat, stored in overcrowded tanks and sometimes spend days in bags of water with no food being shipped across the world.

So they haven't been raised in a tank, eating algae wafers. It can take a long time for them to even recognise some commercial foods as being food - it's not the same as they'd eat in nature, and what's in the pellets you have in mind? Does the food you're trying to coax them to eat the right food for their nutritional needs?

Repashy soilent green is one food that seems to be doing really well for people that keep grazers like otos, and herbivorous plecs. But because it can take time for them to settle in, recover from the being caught/warehoused/shipped/displayed in a fish store/bought and taken home to your brand new tank, that doesn't have the natural algae and organisms that these fish naturally graze on, you're much more likely to lose the fish. That's all we're saying. They're a delicate fish that need stable conditions and an established tank.


There is a lot of misinformation out there, and bad fish store advice- because the staff either don't know, or they want to sell you the tank, decor, fish, and a load of products for you to add to try to speed up the process. Because naturally, most people when they get an aquarium, they want to fill it, get it running, add the fish, and have it all set up, beautiful, and "finished" in a week or two.

But that's a super common beginner mistake, and be wary of people giving you advice about tanks if they're trying to sell you something at the same time. Of course they're not going to say "your tank is brand new and not cycled yet, don't buy these otocinclus I have right here and am trying to sell right now - just get plants and some tetras for now, and wait six months for otos."

They're not going to say that and talk themselves out of a sale, you know? We're giving you this advice based on the welfare of the fish, and to try to help you avoid the common beginner mistakes that end up causing them problems in their aquarium before it's even really got going. We all gather and share our hobby and learn from each other. :) We're not trying to sell you any snake oil products promising a quick fix. We're not trying to sell anything, or charge anyone for advice ;) So our advice is based on personal experience, research, and learning from the personal experiences of others. We want healthy fish, more people joining and loving the hobby, and having long term success with the tank by planning it out ahead of time. So both you and the fish have the best chance of success. :)

If you're doing a planted cycle and adding schools gradually, as @Essjay recommended and many of us agree with, then you'd want to add the otos last anyway. You need to give each group at least a couple of weeks for the nitrifying bacterial colonies and plants adjust to handling the bioload of the new group of fish you just added, and to monitor them for at least 2-4 weeks, testing the water fairly often, to make sure they're healthy and the tank is getting well established, before adding the next group, etc. Ideally you'd also quarantine each new group for 2-4 weeks in a separate QT tank before adding them to your main display tank too... the last thing you want is to have the first group do well, add another group, then find they've introduced a disease or parasite or something to your main tank and now you're previously healthy fish.

Sorry for the long response! Trying to help, but not good at being concise, even at the best of times! Lots to learn in this hobby, but it's really rewarding when it winds up working out. :)

Seriously Fish is a really reliable, accurate dataset about most any species of fish you're likely to find in the hobby. Always worth googling "Seriously Fish otocinclus" or "seriouslyfish ember tetra", and reading their profiles on the fishe's needs, diet, suitability for your tank size and stocking etc. With so much misinformation out there, it's good to have a reliable site to get a good overview of any fish you're considering adding to your tank.

Here's their profile on one of the most common otocinclus species, but same advice for any otocinclus species, except zebra otos since they're much larger.


And here's their profile on Ember tetra. :)

And a really good article about otos and the care they need before buying them.
In the article it says quote in captivity they will have a go at most prepared and frozen food, they enjoy tablets, algae wafers, blanched spinach, and courgette.
 
Yes, once they know it is food. It takes them a while to realise those are actually food, and they can starve to death before they know they can eat them.
When the article says "prepared and frozen food" they don't mean flakes or pellets for fish like corydoras as those are meat/fish based. Seriously Fish gives a better idea of the food they need
It feeds primarily on algae and other microrganisms in nature. In captivity the bulk of the diet should be composed of vegetable matter in both fresh (courgette and cucumber slices, blanched spinach etc.) and dried (algae wafers, spirulina tablets etc.) forms. Although it will also accept small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm or daphnia, take care not to feed these too often, as it doesn’t require a great deal of protein in the diet.


When buying otos, only buy those which have been in the store at least a couple of weeks, that way the ones most likely to die will have died in the store tank. Study the individual fish carefully and chose the ones with nicely rounded bellies. Do not buy any fish with a sunken belly - once they reach a certain stage of starvation they don't seem able to eat again even if they are put in a tank with lots of biofilm and algae.
 
And floating plants are particularly good at removing ammonia from the water.
I can attest to this — the frogbit and water lettuce in my tank are actually suffering from nitrogen deficiency currently because my tank's bioload is so low. I actually decided to order a nitrogen supplement to try to help them out... They're extremely greedy plants, which is great for a fully stocked tank. They're the only plants I have in the tank and they do most of the work filtering out any waste. Definitely get some floating plants to start (but NOT duckweed. If you get duckweed, it will haunt you for the rest of your life). You don't have to keep them forever.

In the article it says quote in captivity they will have a go at most prepared and frozen food, they enjoy tablets, algae wafers, blanched spinach, and courgette.
I don't think you're listening to what people have been saying. Otocinclus sold in stores are all caught from the wild. Yes, virtually all of them. And yes, they can eat commercially prepared foods, but they have to LEARN how to do that first. Before being captured, they will have never seen an algae wafer in their life. They haven't seen any courgettes out there in the Amazon either. It's like if someone slapped a pile of goo on the table in front of you and said "here, eat this, it's tasty, I promise". Eventually, they can learn how to eat prepared foods, but not initially. And if they haven't learned by the time they're in your tank, and your tank doesn't have any biofilm algae, they WILL starve.

Patience is one of the hardest skills to learn, but if you think you might want to be successful in this hobby, you must learn it. No exceptions. No loopholes. No life hacks. No tricks. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise has an ulterior motive.
 
Yes, once they know it is food. It takes them a while to realise those are actually food, and they can starve to death before they know they can eat them.
When the article says "prepared and frozen food" they don't mean flakes or pellets for fish like corydoras as those are meat/fish based. Seriously Fish gives a better idea of the food they need



When buying otos, only buy those which have been in the store at least a couple of weeks, that way the ones most likely to die will have died in the store tank. Study the individual fish carefully and chose the ones with nicely rounded bellies. Do not buy any fish with a sunken belly - once they reach a certain stage of starvation they don't seem able to eat again even if they are put in a tank with lots of biofilm and algae.
Tha k it may not seem like it but I do have patience.
 
In the article it says quote in captivity they will have a go at most prepared and frozen food, they enjoy tablets, algae wafers, blanched spinach, and courgette.

Did you read the whole article, and what several of us have now said about them being wild caught, going through hell before you buy them, and that it can take weeks or even years to get them to recognise and accept added foodstuffs?

It seems as though you're only really taking in what you want to hear?
 
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.

This is really fascinating to me! What sort of healthy herbivore fish would you suggest, if I were prepping a QT tank for otos? With live plants/driftwood/algae etc of course, but I don't know much about the dietary needs of fish I haven't kept yet, and that's a long list!

I know cories are more insectivores than herbivores, but that certain cory species are often found near certain species of oto, and they tend to do well together, but could you suggest a few herbivorous species that would be likely to have the right gut bacteria, please? :D
 
Did you read the whole article, and what several of us have now said about them being wild caught, going through hell before you buy them, and that it can take weeks or even years to get them to recognise and accept added foodstuffs?

It seems as though you're only really taking in what you want to hear?
As I am absolute beginner and I don't think I'm doing what you say, you don't know me, if my questions slightly annoy you, then simple don't answer,
 
As I am absolute beginner and I don't think I'm doing what you say, you don't know me,

You're right, I don't know you, and you don't know me. I just took a lot of time out of my day this morning to try to help you, in a friendly and polite way, and you never once issued a thank you, to anyone, and seemed to ignore what we were telling you because you want to stock your tank within a week of setting it up, and you're cherry picking the part of the article that says otos enjoy these types of foods - once they know it's food, and that varies- some live entirely on what they find in the tank and never touch an algae wafer.

if my questions slightly annoy you, then simple don't answer,


If you keep ignoring people who have taken time out of their day, for free, to try to give you good advice for a successful tank, then just try to find short cuts and argue that we're wrong, why even ask us? Just do what you want and see the results for yourself.

Wow. Wonder why I bother trying to help beginners here sometimes.
 
I've had my Zebra Oto for about a year & a half, & it doesn't eat any regular food... so some may never make the switch to prepared foods... doing the "Repashi sticks" ( see that thread ) from Rapashi Soilent Green, duplicates what they eat naturally...


I also suspect that they are actually omnivores, & eat Aufwuchs ( a blend of algae & all the micro organisms that live in the algae is what makes up Aufwuchs ), in the wild...
I've always suspected the same too, they like grazing on wood too, and there are all those tiny mini buggies (was that what we were gonna call them as an umbrella term, @Seisage ? I forget. 🐞🐛

And seriously Fish agrees! :D

"Diet

It feeds primarily on algae and other microrganisms [emphasis mine] in nature. In captivity the bulk of the diet should be composed of vegetable matter in both fresh (courgette and cucumber slices, blanched spinach etc.) and dried (algae wafers, spirulina tablets etc.) forms. Although it will also accept small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm or daphnia, take care not to feed these too often, as it doesn’t require a great deal of protein in the diet."

I was just wondering if anyone here is a member on Seriously Fish, and might be able to add a bit to the diet section about their delicacy and frequent issues with shipping/feeding, but when I read further down, I see they have covered that in the notes section.

"Notes

This is one of the commoner “otos” seen in the hobby, and is likely the one most frequently offered as an “oto.” It is an ideal species for the planted aquarium. Unfortunately it can be quite delicate when first imported, and losses are not uncommon. This is usually down to lack of food, as it’s a small fish and needs to feed almost constantly, so it’s easily starved during transportation. As almost all otos are wild caught, they can be quite sensitive to water quality, too. Many hobbyists report fewer problems if the fish are added to mature, planted tanks, where water quality is stable and there is a plentiful supply of microorganisms and algae for the otos to feed on. Once the fish are past the initial stage and are feeding well, maintenance becomes much easier.

You may observe otos suddenly dart to the surface for a gulp of air, very similar to the catfish in the Callichthyidae (corys, etc) family. Otos possess a modification of the esophageal wall that may function in aerial respiration and assist in providing additional buoyancy that aids these fish in remaining close to the water surface in their habitats (Schaefer, 1997"
 

Most reactions

trending

Staff online

Members online

Back
Top