Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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LasColinasCichlids 03-23-2011 07:42 PM

Missing Otos...
In my 29 gallon I had 3 otos...took one out last week to add with the other oto in my smaller tank to help with the massive amount of algae...

Since then, I havent seen any of the otos in the 29 gallon (the day I grabbed one for the small tank, I only saw one of the supposable remaining two). So early this morning my best friend came by to help me re-aquascape my 29 we started by doing a really good gravel vac of the whole tank (when ended up with a 50% water change)...and carefully washed all the plants (live and artificial) in the last bucket of removed tank water...we searched and searched (even inside the filter intake and media areas)...not a single oto!!! (They could NOT have died from water parameters, as it is a fully cycled and established tank, both the 5 gal and the 29 gal...and they have identical water parameters and the other 2 otos are fine and growing in the smaller tank. Not really concerned with how they died as I am with where they went.)

So my thought is that maybe they both died and my cories ate the dead bodies??

I didnt realize how delicate otos were until today...I had heard that they were and that you should always buy a few more than needed as a few will die in the my best friend and I were at Petsmart this evening (I got a mystery snail to help eat the algae in my little tank, as its too much of a job for the 2 otos)...and she got the last 5 otos in their tank...on our way to the register, one of the otos died right in front of we turned back to the fish section and made the guy remove the dead oto and rebag with their tank water as to not have an ammonia spike in the tiny bag. So she ended up with only 4 otos.

Now our amazing two local fish specialty stores always have quality fish, but havent been able to keep up with the oto demand over the past few we have had to buy them from Petsmart since they are the only ones who seem to have a few when we are in and wanting them (always wanting them...never enough!). So, as far as quality otos go, could it be Petsmart and/or their supplier?

No rush to answer, as it is just my curiosity verses a need. Thank you!!!

small fry 03-23-2011 08:33 PM

Unfortunately, otos have a very bad repuation of being so fradgile. It is recomended that you keep them in groups of at least 3, and that is if there is no room for more. Even then, there is a possibility that they still wont make it. I have heard stories of people with large groups of otos, and they slowly disappear.

I am not trying to discourage you, I am just letting you know (as you seem to know already) that there is a good chance they passed.

As for how it disappeared after it passed, I doubt cories did it, but if there is any other species of fish in the tank, it is likely that they had something to do with it.

LasColinasCichlids 03-23-2011 08:59 PM

There is only cories, guppies, and 3 mollies...I highly doubt the guppies would, but I guess there is a chance the mollies would. (Neons in there now, just switched them from the small tank this I know they didnt do it, lol)

Yeah, I know the whole 3 minimum group rule for otos, but I have had solo otos that do better than grouped ones. I believe there are exceptions to most rules ;) lol

Yeah, the best I could figure is they died out of sight, and someone ate the bodies...they were rather little guys, the largest was probably 1.2", and the smaller one was just under an inch at best.


Rip 03-24-2011 02:31 AM

i've had very good luck with the $1 oto's from PetSmart. i originally bought 3 to take care of some diatoms in my 55 gallon. they got rid of it, but then it came back, and i bought 6 more, but 1 died. so i have a total of 8 in my 55 gallon, all seem healthy, and the glass is spotless. then i bought 3 more for my 10 gallon, and they're all alive after the first week. so i bought a total of 12 oto's from PetSmart over the last 2 months, and still have 11 of them. i think it's just important that when you get them that there's an algae issue for them to attack, cuz it might take them awhile to start accepting algae wafers.

1077 03-24-2011 03:21 AM

Is said that most of the Otocinclus are still wild caught fishes, and the stress from being captured,shipped,and then acclimating from shipping water,to dealer's water,to your or my water,takes a heavy toll on these fish.
Many are starving when they are purchased, and some may or may not readily take to supplemental foods as opposed to algae which is their primary food.
Most will fair much better in well established tanks where biofilm or algae is present on substrate and other surfaces but in newly established tanks, with little or no algae, or biofilm,, they often perish quickly.
They should Alway's be kept in groups of three or more similar to cory's and other schooling species.
They do not enjoy all types of algae, and they do poorly in stagnant water's with little movement.
Much prefer oxygen rich water with moderate current IME

LasColinasCichlids 03-24-2011 01:47 PM

The water in both tanks has a nice current...and the 29 gallon had a nice amount of algae and biofilm plus I put veggie rounds/algae discs in daily.

The other two otos that are in the smaller tank were both from Petsmart in the same batch as they two that probably died, and they are fine...they have actually grown.

Who knows. But, I will get more otos down the road...sadly it will be after the $1 spring sale (which ends 3/27 if anyone was curious). I have often had VERY bad luck with any of the fish from Petsmart when they are on sale, like during dollar days. I had bought 5 tiger barbs last year to use as dither fish with my cichlids when I had them...once acclimated to the water they seemed perfect...actively swimming, eating, and healthy looking. About 15 hours later, 3 were dead, one was on his way to death, and the 5th was fine. I pulled them out, checked the water parameters, everything was still the same as when I had put them in (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate)...I took them back to Petsmart. The next day I was talking to some other people online across the US that had bought the same tiger barbs during last years sale and the exact same thing happened to them. Even while I was in petsmart, another person was returning them for the same exact reasons. I dont know, maybe they put the fish on sale when they have unhealthy batches?? Just a weird thought, not fact. lol

Rip 03-24-2011 02:56 PM

that could be correct. a few weeks ago, i got a laserbeam guppy from PetSmart, and then after a few days i noticed it had fin rot. the next time i went into PetSmart, they were on sale for 62 cents.

Plumkin 03-24-2011 03:02 PM

i've had great luck with my otos i put them in my 75g planted tank and they just been growing ever since :]

LasColinasCichlids 03-24-2011 05:57 PM

LOL... I bought 3 of the Laserbeam guppies when they were on sale for 62 cents!!! Mine actually have been doing wonderfully though. They were clearenced out though, they didnt plan on carrying Laserbeam guppies anymore.

But yesterday when I was buying my snail at a different petsmart (I was in a different city visiting a friend), I saw that they had laserbeams with the yellow guppies selling them all as yellow guppies. I know the difference isnt very noticable unless you know what you are looking for...but it just kind of sucks that some people at that store will be overpaying for a fish.

I think with otos, and Petsmart fish, it is a hit or miss on health and quality. However, I always have bought my guppies from Petsmart, and thankfully have not lost one of them *knocks on wood*. My mollies came from there too, and they are all doing wonderful. To be honest, most all my fish I currently have has come from Petsmart except for my Habrosus Cory, and my Betta....those both came from one of the two specialty fish stores we have nearby. (My ADF came from my local Petsmart, I have had her for almost 2 years now!)

My motto on Petsmart is that I wont purchase a fish that will cost more than $2, and I wont purchase a fish that isnt very common from them. And I would never buy knifefish, larger cichlids, leaf fish, or any other slightly more exotic fish from them.

My local Petsmart actually got in a few Blue Rams a couple of weeks ago...some of the most vibrant colored ones I have ever seen...almost prettier than the one's my lfs gets in....and a LOT cheaper...they were asking something like $2.50 for one. I wanted it so badly, but did not because I knew I didnt have a tank set up for it, and after more research, I decided i would definately have to wait to get Rams. Thankfully, I think they actually were taking better care of them than local Petsmart has a secondary set of tanks seperated from the main ones, where they house a lot of the specialty or stock they only get in once in a while and dont list on their website (like Odessa Barbs, Rams, Cherry Shrimp, Blue Lobsters...).

turtle10 03-26-2011 02:40 PM

20 seems high for nitrates.

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