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TheShadyBird 08-25-2012 11:17 PM

New to Oto Cats, trying to get them set up, advice?
Going on all the good things I've heard about Otos, I bought two. Brought them home, got them set up in a 2.5 gal quarantine tank to keep an eye on them, then raced here to do some back-up research on them. Found they are a bit more maintenance than I had expected!
Not having any algae, I have:
- put in some anacharis, hogwort, dwarf water lettuce, and a small piece of driftwood with java moss so they can pick off anything they might eat
- added a much brighter light, an extra air-stone on top of the bubble-powered filter I have in the tank, and some extra plant nutrients, all to encourage algae growth for the babies
- dropped in a Hikari algae tablet, after breaking it into about 5 pieces so they might be able to find it easier
- added an overturned terra cotta pot for hiding places

I plan to:
- purchase at least one more oto ASAP
- keep the light on 16 hours a day
- add small amounts of fertilizer every other day
- do 20% water changes every other day, with an 80% change once a week.
- feed them one tablet (~1.5 cm dia.) every day

The two otos are around .8 of an inch long, maybe shorter, so they are very young, and one is obviously underweight, but they're very active, and nibbling on everything.

The only veggie I have on hand is frozen peas (easily blanched), would these be good for them?

Looking at people's designs of algae scrubbers, I've thought about roughing up some of the plastic canvas I have laying around and putting it near the light and over the airstone, to again encourage algae growth, but would this be over kill?

Is there anything else you guys would suggest I do for them?

I really appreciate any advice!

(might be able to get pictures up of their set-up, but don't count on it ^^; )

sidluckman 08-25-2012 11:57 PM

Mine always did better in well planted larger tanks with driftwood. They tend not to survive in small tanks, and tanks that do not have lots of organic stuff. I suspect their failure, which is frequent, has to do with some nutrititional shortcoming on the part of tank, owner, or both.

Now I will gently chide you for not doing your research until after buying the fish.:oops:

What will be the final home for these critters?? Hopefully very naturally scaped with sand, plants, & driftwood. . .

EDIT: If you do purchase more, refuse those that look thin. Often loricarids that are emaciated have a very hard time rebounding. . .

TheShadyBird 08-26-2012 12:22 AM

*is chided* I know, I've been castigating myself since I realized my mistake, but I'm working extra hard to make the best of it.

They will be going probably into my 10 gallon Betta Sorority tank. It is heavily decorated with mostly silk plants, with several medium (6-7inch) pieces of drift wood, and some floating plants. The substrate is medium size (.8-1.5cm) pebbles. I'll have the general water parameters tomorrow.
The other tank I have is a 5 gal that is more generously filled with live plants and smaller substrate, housing only one male betta and a mystery snail.

Both are designed to look very natural, with no unnatural colors.

Byron 08-26-2012 02:49 PM

Peas are fine, blanch or steam them to soften them, then squish the mush out of the shell and feed only the mush. Other foods include green beans also blanched/steamed and cut French style. Spinach and green leaf lettuce, also blanched/steamed. Yams, squash. With all these, remove them after a day or two, else they may fungus.

As the otos are in your QT, don't be afraid to overfeed. You can easily remove the excess. Stuffing more food in the tank with any finicky fish is a better way to get them eating.

Just remembered, dry leaves like oak and beech are also good, as they produce infusoria which these fish graze.

TheShadyBird 08-26-2012 05:14 PM

Thank you so much! After buying two more much bigger and healthier Otos, I now have a good bunch of oak leaves in the tank, as well as some mushed blanched peas : ]

sidluckman 08-26-2012 11:41 PM

Best of luck. I think Byron's suggestion about adding foliage is great. Fallen foliage is a staple among many fish, especially those from slow rivers. flooded forest floors and smaller lakes. We really should include it more often than we do.

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