I was bothered over black algae marks- on anubias leaves and plastic plants in particular. I took a few measures against that- raised the tank light a quarter of an inch (on stacked popsicle sticks, temporary means)
and lowered the biggest anubias plant itself by retying further down on the driftwood log. This moved it about two inches further from the light source.
Java fern still plugging along. It was looking poorly for a while. I dosed a tiny amount of epsom salts for magnesium. Read that Mg deficiency can cause the veins to look darker than the rest of a leaf. A few days later, the color on the leaves seems to have evened out. Now the trick is to get the light level balanced just so- low enough not to prompt algae all over the anubias, but high enough to grow the java fern.
Not terribly happy with the look of the tank now- it's all too even in height. I think I need more plants in there....
I have had poor success with otocinclus in the past. But I took a chance with these because they looked so good in the store- alert fins and round little tummies. Thumbprint mark of stomach against the glass. I brought five home yesterday. Some went in the other tank. They're so
little! I put them right into the tank- two here with Oliver, who didn't flare or bite but has been following them around curiously. I didn't quarantine because never could keep otos well-fed in QT. I actually saw them eating off surfaces and one of them pooped, so I am more hopeful that these will make it. Eating and digesting is a good sign!
Next day otos still looked perky
and were feeding off the big anubias leaves
Oliver doesn't seem to mind them. He sometimes cruises close enough to disturb one off its perch but doesn't actually threaten or chase. Seems more curious than anything.
I added a small amount of magnesium with the ferts last week, 1/32 tsp of epsom salt. Looks like it helped my anubias lanceolata- veins are no longer darker than the rest of the leaf. You can see the affected leaf on the left, new leaf grown out in center looks better.
Glad I often pause to watch the fish. Noticed this day I'd only seen one otocinclus busy around Oliver's tank- where was the other. Then I saw him headfirst down the output tube for the sponge filter. Just his tail sticking out. He must have been feeding down the airline, or went in after the green algae inside of the tube- pretty determined against the pressure of air flowing out! I jiggled the filter a little- he wiggled his tail but didn't budge. I turned off the air flow, he wiggled his tail more but still couldn't get free. I lifted the filter up near the surface, turned it horizontal, was trying to gently pull the pieces apart when he wiggled again and slid out. Seemed a bit distressed- he sat on the substrate in a corner not moving for a long time after. Didn't appear to get any injuries. Now he's moving about the tank once more, so far he hasn't approached the filter- I hope he doesn't repeat the maneuver and get himself stuck again!
(Every time I look at this tank now I check where the otos are. They do go up and down the airline tubing but I've never seen one in the outtake tube again. I think the fish remembers the mishap and stays clear)
Really enjoy watching the little otos. Always busy!
It's so cute to see them follow each other up and down the tank sides, resting and feeding together. I wonder if they are different otocinclus species (or subspecies)? one has a mottled gray back and spotty/broken midline stripe- the other is a more even gray, its stripe a clean line.
Oliver still seems okay with their presence, but I'm keeping a close eye on him.
I put a zucchini slice in the tank. It took half the day for an oto to find it. Oliver himself saw it right away and kept slowly circling it, inspecting, taking curious nips. When one of the otos finally started nibbling away Oliver glided over and the oto abruptly moved off. He hasn't gone back to it. But I did see him eating, so I plan to keep offering zucchini a few times a week, to supplement their diet.