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wavebeast 09-19-2010 11:38 AM

Do I have the right algae in my tank for Otocinclus?
I want to add 5 Otos to my tank. Right now my Swords have a coating of what looks like cinnamon on most of the leaves, some more heavy then others. Is that the right type of algae to introduce Otos to my tank with?

I read in the profile that they don't eat prepared foods until they've had algae to get them used to the tank. Any help would be appreciated.

Byron 09-19-2010 12:43 PM

Sounds like it may be diatoms (brown algae) which can appear cinnamon coloured. Is this a relatively new tank, within 3 months? Diatoms is frequent in new tanks, and otos will readily eat all of it.

Ensure you have sinking foods like algae/spirulina/kelp tablets, disks, pellets, or wafers. One or two at the daily feeding; they will learn to eat these, although they may concentrate solely on algae if it is there.


Inga 09-19-2010 01:02 PM

That is pretty much the kind of algae that I had when I added mine. They say you shouldn't put them in a tank that is not established. How long has your tank been set up? If it is a couple months you are probably fine. I was paranoid at first so I added a bit of extra light too make sure I had some algae growth. How many you add will of course depend on tank size.

zof 09-19-2010 02:30 PM

I might also add how big is your tank? And of course the age of it? I have had 2 otos in my main 36g tank since the 2nd month its been started up and have yet to see them eat any prepared food although I haven't tried giving them any since the first week I got them, I realized a tank of my size with as few as I have has more then enough for them to eat. Now if you are going to put 5 otos in a 10 gallon tank it will probably be extremely important to get them going on prepared foods. If you do indeed have just a 10 gallon like what your aquarium profile says you might shoot more towards 2-3 otos in that tank other wise the supplemental food source of algae might not be enough for 5 otos unless you can get them going on a prepared food quickly.

But then again 5 might be a good number to buy understanding the mortality rate on otos from the fish store is rather high. Me for example, the first 3 I bought all pretty much survived the transition (although 1 later died of who knows what), but my last batch I just bought about 2 weeks ago out of 3 I only have 1 survivor.

So keep those things in mind and make the decision thats best for you.

wavebeast 09-20-2010 08:30 AM

Thanks for all the info. The diatom (brown algae) info was exactly what I was looking for - much appreciated as always Byron.

Currently I have a 10g tank that's been established for almost three months and almost all of my plants as well as a large part of my gravel is covered in what looks to be brown algae. In most profiles for Otos it says they do better in larger groups, so that's why I decided on 5. Though I hadn't even thought of the mortality rate. Guess I'm an aquatic optimist. Or, y'know - someone with little enough experience to remoain one anyway.

I'm planning on adding at least 5-7 more plants this week and getting them established and then adding the Otos because apparently they favor densely planted tanks - and that many plants will help immensely in handling the bio-load.

I wanted to wait until I had algae already in the tank to help them transition - then I had planned on growing algae on rocks and switching them in and out of the tank as a source of food - along with attempting to get them established on prepared foods. That way if the prepared foods didn't take, I would still be able to feed them.

So I get my plants at the latest this coming Saturday - spend a significant amount of time separating and planting them and then give them at least a week or two to establish roots before I introduce the Otos so they don't uproot the new plants by eating the algae off the gravel.

This may not be a problem but i have clumsy hands and aquatic planting is difficult for me so I'd rather be on the safe side. Plus I want to establish the best possible environment for the Otos to survive.

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