Oto Cat - What to feed? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-11-2010, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
Hawkian's Avatar
Red face Oto Cat - What to feed?

OK so I think I have been somewhat stupid...

I have had some cyanobacteria in my tank for a bit and it looks like it's getting under control. I also had some green algae starting which by itself I did not see as a big deal. However, since I wanted to add a few more fish to the tank, I bought a small otocinclus catfish and added it to the tank. I had read that they eat almost exclusively algae and I figured he'd help reduce the small amounts of green algae in the tank.

The good news is: he is doing a fantastic job cleaning up the tank and I am hard-pressed finding algae in the tank now! The little critter is earning his keep!

The bad "news": what's he going to eat now??? I never thought he'd go through the algae so quick! So now what? Do I need to generate algae for him? I've read that most otos will mostly ignore algae discs (not that I've been able to find any locally). So now what?

Anyone out there with an oto know what to feed the little critters?
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-11-2010, 09:16 AM
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Offer stuff like cucumber slices, blanched spinach, algae wafers, spirulinatablets ... More likely then not you'll have to offer any/ all these things a few times over & over before the Oto will start accepting it.

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post #3 of 5 Old 01-11-2010, 11:16 AM
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+1 on Angel's advice. My otos get a leaf of spinach in a clip in the evening and come morning it's nothing but a skeletonized leaf. Mine love spinach!

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-11-2010, 01:13 PM
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Mine eat regular tablet and pellet food that I put in for the Corydoras and Whiptail and Farlowella. I have always found that provided otos have algae at first (or they will starve), once they get it basically eaten they are quick to find the tablet food on the bottom. I have five otos in my 115g and I usually don't see them except during the moring feed when they are all lined up with the corys across the bottom, or waiting on low plant leaves, knowing the food is about to arrive.

Another comment, I would get one or two more if you want otos. They, like corys, are social shoaling fish that always fare better in groups, I've had good luck with just two. You have room, they are small fish. They will also readily spawn if you have male and female. I had three in a former 90g setup, then one day I noticed five, two slightly (but not much) smaller than the other three. I didn't add them, so spawning is the only option. The five I have now spawn frequently, though nothing has yet managed to survive.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 01-11-2010 at 01:17 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-11-2010, 01:58 PM
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If yours are particularly stubborn (or if you just want to add some variety to their diets) you can culture algae. Simply get a bowl of water, put a smooth, aquarium-safe rock in it and put it on a windowsill that gets a lot of sunlight. You can put some fish food in the bowl to serve as an ammonia source to feed the algae, and after a while you should have an algae-covered rock. You can put this in the tank for the fish to munch on. You could have two rocks so that you can rotate which one is in the tank and which one is growing algae in the bowl.

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