03-02-2010, 03:47 PM
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As Natalie mentioned, otos are very sensitive to water conditions in several ways. But food is also an issue, as they usually arrive in the store almost starved.
Algae must be present in the tank when they are introduced, and they are fussy over what algae. Brown (diatoms) they devour, and common green also. They will not touch hair or brush algae, nor cyanobacteria (not a true algae as you may know). If the common green or brown is available when they are introduced, and assuming they are not too far gone already, they will be OK.
As they consume the algae and it is depleted, they usually (in my experience) turn to vegetable foods like algae and spirulina wafers and tablets. I feed these every day for the Corydoras, whiptails and Farlowella and I always see the five otos in the 115g lined up with the Corys in anticipation. They still spend all day grazing leaves, but I suspect not finding much edible algae, but the prepared foods keep them robust and they frequently spawn. Others have mentioned feeding spinach, lettuce, cucumber but I've never gone this route.