Feeding Otocinclus?
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Old 08-05-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
caspolina
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Feeding Otocinclus?


I have three otos in my fish tank. It is a new tank, fully cycled and the otos and two male platies were the first fish I introduced five days ago.

The tank was heavily covered with brown algae and the otos have been feeding off it ever since I got them. They have been doing surprisingly well, given how fragile they can be to keep. They've been eating almost all of the time, stopping to rest for a few seconds only, they've been playing with each other and with the air pump.

However, today I noticed they started to swim all over the tank in a frenzied manner as if searching for food. They are literally going crazy, moving as a school most of time, going up and down the walls of the tank, sniffing for something to suck onto. There is still some algae in the tank but I guess it is not enough anymore, plus it is old and not suitable for them to eat. I have now dumped four types of blanched veggies in there - carrot, spinach, courgette and peas.

The problem is they don't seem to notice the veggies at all. They swim right past where I have placed the food and just don't stop to eat. I am now worried they will starve because they don't seem to know this is food! Has anyone ever had this problem with otos?

Water parameters as of this morning are just fine - ammonia 0, nitrite 0, pH 7.6, nitrate 40 (is naturally high), temp 26 degrees celsius (79 fahrenheit).

Any help much appreciated!
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Old 08-05-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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Or could this odd behavior have something to do with the CO2 levels? I have a DIY CO2 reactor and it started releasing bubbles today around the same time that I saw my otos behaving strangely. However, the co2 bubbles coming out of the diffusing limewood are really very few and I have had it on for only about two hours all in all today. I doubt this could be the problem... but then, I am not sure, otos are really sensitive fish.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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Add your veggies at night before go bed.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
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I freeze my zucchini, fresh and sliced, in a vacuum bag. I then put them in a small plastic bowl and cook 1 minute in the microwave. Put them on a bamboo skewer close to the bottom of the tank. I leave them in the tank for 48 hours. Any longer and they turn to mush.

My Otos, SAEs, and shrimp go nuts for these. I've also used frozen green beans prepared the same way. They will eat them, but not as well.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
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blanch zucchini.. put a slice in some water, boil it for about 10-20 seconds (it should be somewhat mushy), let it cool and add it to your tank. My 2 little guys just devour it when it's mushy. I tried apples, peas, lettuce - none worked like zucchini did.

They are also nocturnal fish really, they will forage at night - so like Blesser13 said, add it when light are off will help.

If your oto's belly is plump, then they are doing good - that's all you really need to gauge them by. I maybe put in one slice of zucchini every month now (they find enough to forage from an established tank)
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:07 PM   #6
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My oto's eat Zuchini. I put in one slice of blanched and one slice of raw once per week.
I have 25+ oto's and 25ish cherry shrimp and it takes them one week to eat the two pieces. I supplement them with algae wafers throughout the week.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:47 PM   #7
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Thanks for your replies, guys. I think zucchini and courgettes (in the UK) are pretty much the same thing. I blanched the zucchini for a minute or two and put it in the tank today. But as I said, they simply do not recognize this as food at this point.
I will leave the veggies in tonight and will put them only at night as you suggested.

I should've probably titled this thread as a behavior peculiarity in otos rather than feeding otos cause I believe I have found the culprit for their frenzy. I have the lights on for 11.5 hours a day because I have live plants in which I wish to help grow faster. So after failing to get the little guys to eat today, and after doing a 50% WC thinking there must be a change in the water that has made them feel uneasy, I eventually thought it might be the excessive amounts of light that causes this chaos. I turned the lights off and after 10 minutes or so they got a bit calmer and started eating again (still ignoring my veggies, though).

I read quite a bit about otos before and after getting them home and nothing suggested that light would be an issue. But I guess it is in my case.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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And yeah, their bellies are still plump. That's a good thing
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:04 PM   #9
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yeah they're probably full - another indicator to know they found the zucchini is if you leave it on a skewer (so it doesn't move around) and the next morning you see little black specks (that would be the oto's poop). That is a good way to know if they are eating from it.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:13 PM   #10
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i've tried feeding my otos spinach and zuchini. they just dont recognize it as food. =(
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermino View Post
yeah they're probably full - another indicator to know they found the zucchini is if you leave it on a skewer (so it doesn't move around) and the next morning you see little black specks (that would be the oto's poop). That is a good way to know if they are eating from it.
yeah, I left all veggies on skewers. so far I've seen only one platy relishing the spinach. And his poop is actually light green and scattered around the skewer

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSo View Post
i've tried feeding my otos spinach and zuchini. they just dont recognize it as food. =(
What do you feed them then?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-06-2013 at 01:37 PM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caspolina View Post
What do you feed them then?
they graze on algae. i never see them go after flake food at all. i do drop an algae wafer every now and then in the tank hoping they'll get to it, but i've never seen them go for it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSo View Post
they graze on algae. i never see them go after flake food at all. i do drop an algae wafer every now and then in the tank hoping they'll get to it, but i've never seen them go for it.
It's good that you have plenty of algae.

My tank is also full of algae - green algae is growing on the walls and hardscape, diatoms are growing on the live plants and on the rocks. I also have that white slimy type of algae (supposedly algae) growing on my driftwood, plants and tank walls that the otos reportedly do eat. They just hardly eat right now.

I have really ran out of options to help them calm down. One thing I think might be the reason is small doses of ammonia present in the water. The tank had just finished cycling when I introduced them and is probably getting used to the bio load (the otos and the two platies have been eating and pooping heavily for the past few days, because there was a lot of algae). It is really hard to tell though, because my test kit shows 0 or 0.25ppm but nothing in between. (API master test kit).

So I did a big water change today, they have slightly calmed down. Their bellies are still a little plump, so I figure they've been eating at least something. They had not touched the veggies this night though.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:22 PM   #14
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i saw a youtube video of oto's eating spinach in a tank. but when i tried to leave spinach for them... they just ignored it. my tank is recently set up also, maybe two months now. i been trying to supplement their diet but i dunno... maybe they're dumb or i'm not doing something right.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:39 PM   #15
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My otto's do the same type of behavior sometimes. It is usually brought on by a big water change. Sometimes when a storm is moving in they do the same thing, something to do with barometric pressure I think.

I hope your fish continue doing well.....
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