View Full Version : Trouble Keeping Otos

01-28-2010, 06:36 PM
My girlfriend had 4 otocinclus. They had been doing fine for maybe 4-5 months. Swimming around, eating cucumber, etc. I take care of the tank so I've been doing 30% water changes weekly on this 37 gallon. They get cucumber all the time so it's not like they are starving because I've seen them on the cucumber many times. This past week, 2 otos died for no apparent reason. The water parameters were 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 10 nitrate. I couldn't explain to here why they died or why they are dying off so I'm turing the question on you guys now.

Do otos NEED driftwood? Are they nocturnal like other plecos?

01-28-2010, 06:48 PM
I have the same problem with them. They live for awhile then die. They always look good, nice and plump. My water reading are excellent. My Nitrates are a bit high at 12.5, but I was told this was fine for Otos. I really like the little guys too. :scry: I don't get it... :sconfused:

01-28-2010, 06:57 PM
Maybe they need more algae!
Cucumbers are good but algae contains other things that the otos might need to survive.Is that the only veggie they get?Have you fed spinach or Romain lettuce or anything else at all?
You can grow algae with some rocks in a glass of water sat on a sunny window ledge.Just switch them out after the otos are done cleaning them.

01-28-2010, 07:21 PM
Good idea on the algae rocks. I'm not sure how my girlfriend's mom would enjoy an algae covered rock in her tank. She despises algae lol. There is green spot algae in the tank, but that is likely too tough for them to eat. I'll see if they are interested in the algae rocks.

01-28-2010, 07:25 PM
A razor takes care of the tough stuff in a hurry!thumbs2:

Have you tried algae wafers?

01-28-2010, 07:26 PM
Otos eat soft algae. They love diatoms. I can't seem to keep an Oto alive for more than 6 months. The ones I've had refused to nibble on algae wafers. The smaller plecos are much hardier.

01-28-2010, 09:10 PM

The otos get algae wafers as well. The tetras and guppy pick at it too.

01-28-2010, 09:44 PM
I've gone through about 10 of 'em... no luck... they'll do great, fat bellies, then dead.


01-28-2010, 11:10 PM
yea, that's pretty much how its going here.

01-28-2010, 11:46 PM
I just had two die on me after about a week. They all had fat little bellies, sort of like they moved to my tank, the "land of plenty", from the starving LFS and stuffed themselves to death from overeating.

Little Embers
01-29-2010, 02:00 PM
Do otos NEED driftwood? Are they nocturnal like other plecos?
No..they don't need driftwood like plecos and Yes..they are nocturnal fish, so it is best to feed them after lights out.

I do think Otos are one of those fish that do not do well in captivity and luck has a lot do with it also. They are social fish and being in a larger group is better for them, but because most of us only keep 3-4 at most, that may also have a bearing on their long-term health...I don't know.

Years ago my first try at Oto's was a failure and just like you all described, I think my tank was still to newly established for them although it had been set up for 5 months..a year later (probably 3 yrs ago now) I tried again and since then, I have never had any problems with them.

Perhaps tank-mates play a part in their well-being as well, although Oto's are very peaceful and can be put with a lot of different species of fish.....I noticed that when I had Flame tetras in with my Oto's, I very rarely saw them, even at night, but when I removed the tetras into another tank, the Oto's suddenly become much more active and swimming around occasionally during the day as well....

Oto's can lose interest in algae as they mature which can pose a problem and perhaps the food we supply them with such as the Algae wafers etc. has an adverse effect on their digestive system after a while and makes them bloat up (not sure how it would, but just thinking out loud), they can also be prone to bacterial infections of the stomach/intestines. If for some reason, the bacteria (which is essential for them to be able to digest food properly) in their stomach dies off, then even though they are eating, they are slowly starving to death because the food is just passing straight through and they aren't getting any of the nutrients.

Temperature can be a factor as well....they do prefer it cooler than the tropical fish we usually keep Oto's in with.

Depending where you live, the water supply company may be adding a chemical into the water and seeing how sensitive Oto's can be to water quality, it may slowly affect them.

This is all just speculation on my part though and as I mentioned I have had Oto's living for years in a tank without a problem.

Lady Hobbs
01-29-2010, 02:19 PM
I've read they are hard to keep living. I bought 4 and have 2 after a year.

01-29-2010, 11:28 PM
It is really frustrating... I really like Otos! Damnit they're so cute and harmless, they just go about doing their own thing, not bothering anyone, in little groups. They do a great job with algae as my tank was overrun with the stuff and they did in a day or two what I thought would take them at least a week or two. They're ravenous little guys. Maybe we just don't provide them with enough in the way of actual live algae... who knows for sure but it sure sucks to lose the little guys. :(


01-30-2010, 04:28 AM
They may have also been old. Who knows. But I think a varied diet is very important. Lots of different fresh veggies and fruits should be included. I have had some of my ottos for well over a year now. I always see them eating things off my plants and they love the fresh food over prossessed stuff. If you only have a couple you may not be able to see that they have eaten any of the veggies.