Otos dying, is it starvation?
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
VeeSe
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Otos dying, is it starvation?


Hi all,

In the last week, I have seen two dead otos in my tank. One died right after my water change last week, and then one was dead this morning right before my water change. I'm not sure what it could be, but one idea was starvation. I don't feed my otos a lot (maybe a few veggie sticks 1-2x a week), and when I do feed them, they compete with food against corys, who are usually more aggressive than them. My thought was that they eat the biofilm and small amounts of algae that are in my tank (no visible algae) and they would be fine.

Is this enough food for them or should I start feeding the last couple remaining otos? Tank size is 55G with lots of plants in it.

Thanks,
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
musician71604
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I supplement with zucchini that I clip near the top away from my corys who tend to hog most of the food. Also check to make sure your nitrates are low and you have plenty of aeration. That keeps my group happy.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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True. I have good aeration but am unable to keep nitrates really low. They are always 40ppm or higher despite 50% WC weekly (lower after the WC for awhile, obviously). Unsure of how to keep nitrates low like so many people on this forum are able to do. It seems that if I don't do anything, my nitrates rocket up really fast, despite being very lightly stocked in my tank and having lots of plants. Don't really want to do 50% WC 2-3x a week just to keep nitrates at 10-20ppm.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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My nitrates run high too and the otos are just fine.

Be sure to splash the new water going into the tank to aerate it, I have had uncomfortable fish if new water enters under the water's surface.

Try the zucchini or cucumber. My otos don't seem to like it until it has been in the tank for a day or so so don't take it out too soon. I usually offer veggies as a supplement once a week and it is gone inside 2 days. My corys don't eat the veggies, maybe it will work better than veggy sticks.

How long have you had these fish? Msjinkzd has posted that collected otos are treated with antibiotic that can kill the gut bacteria otos need to digest their food then they slowly starve to death.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:57 PM   #5
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All good suggestions so far. How old is your tank? Ottos do best in mature tanks. And seems like when you buy them that fatalities happen then the remainder stabilize. I don't know why that is, but that's the trend. Definitely try the zucchini and leave it in the tank for more than one day...Your nitrates are more than likely coming from your fish food..
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m00se View Post
All good suggestions so far. How old is your tank? Ottos do best in mature tanks. And seems like when you buy them that fatalities happen then the remainder stabilize. I don't know why that is, but that's the trend. Definitely try the zucchini and leave it in the tank for more than one day...Your nitrates are more than likely coming from your fish food..
execelent points. Especially about them setteling in. They get the crap beat out of them from the time they are unceremoniously scooped up untill they get in the tank.

Also, how many otos total are there. These guys Love company. Also, you say your nitrates are high and that you have alot of plants. Are you over feeding the other fish? A tank with "a lot" of plants should have , comparitively, lower nitrates.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:47 AM   #7
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Hey guys! Thanks for all the suggestions. Here are some of my answers:

The tank is pretty mature. It was first filled in March of 2011 and is well past the diatom stage and pretty mature at this point.

The otos have been in the tank for almost a year, I think, so it is definitely NOT the acclimation period or the caught otos being treated with anything. These guys have been in there for quite some time and 2 deaths in a week is scaring me.

As for how many there are, there are 2 remaining now after the 2 deaths, and there were 6 initially. I think one died during acclimation, but I can't account for the other one.

I don't believe I'm overfeeding the fish. I feed once a day, and all the food is gone within a minute or so. Anything that falls to the bottom is for the 5 corys in there and 5 Amanos to clean up. There's also tons of MTS on the bottom. I realize that since I have so many plants that the nitrates should be low, especially since 1/3 of my surface is covered with mini water lettuce, which should be a nitrate sink. I'm not sure why it's so high all the time, but I do run low light, so the consumption is not as fast as with higher lighting. A lot of the plants are also slow growing (~15 crypts, an anubias with like 30 leaves, java fern, tiger lotus, all slow growing), but there are also some relatively quick growing plants in there too, including a bunch of jungle vals, blyxa, Ludwigia, Hygrophila, and HM).

=(

edit: Oh also, I had been feeding Repashy soilent green before, and I stopped for many months when I last ran out. The otos (and the Bolivian, corys, and cardinals) really love it, so I have resumed feeding it. Maybe they didn't take to the Ken's veggie sticks as well, and they were starving out? Otherwise, I'm out of ideas if it isn't the nitrates... All the other fish are fine, including the shrimp too.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:54 AM   #8
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If they're wild caught it could be that they've reached the end if their life span...
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:39 PM   #9
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You say you have 40ppm nitrates but one answer he haves otos and they are just fine at that nitrates level.

But you do 50% water changes, it's quite drastic, otos are quite sensible to water parameters changes. It may be that.

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:30 PM   #10
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The nitrates could be lower, but I don't think they are enough to cause alarm. Ottos in my experience are sensitive to drastic sudden changes, especially wild caught ones. One experience I had sounds similar to yours, and what I found to be the problem was temperature of my water for water changes. It was very easily overlooked by me until I started noticing I would lose ottos occasionally after bigger water changes. I have since (and should have from the beginning), started heating the water before it goes into the tank to at least within 2 degrees, and even then still do a very slow return rate of new water.Since then I have had no other issues (knock on wood!) Also, it's amazing how social ottos are and they definitely do better in numbers. I currently have 9 in my tank, and used to have 4. After adding the additional 5, I have noticed improved health in that my females are full of eggs, and also much much more activity from them all. They really do school quite well. You have such a large tank, it could be stress of low numbers, followed by what would typically be a non problem or concern like temp or a little bit higher nitrates combined that is giving some the axe. If it was malnourishment, I think you would see a long drawn out death with the end showing you one sickly looking Otto. hope this helps, maybe just some food for thought, but it's my two pennies! Goodluck, they are one of my favorite fish!
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