Oto with swollen belly - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Oto with swollen belly

I bought 3 oto's from my LFS about 2 weeks ago. One died in less then 24 hours. Another lasted about a week before it died. I know that since oto's are both sensitive and wild caught you unfortunately have to expect some to die, so I bought 2 more 6 days ago to try and get companions for the remaining fish.

Fast forward to today, I came home from work and one of the oto's, no idea if it's from the original batch or the newer batch, has a huge, round abdomen/belly. It looks like a little marble with a head and tail. I saw no sign of any red streaks or marks and it appears to be able to move around normally. The 2nd oto that died appeared to have a distended abdomen also, but nothing as big as this current one.

I've been searching the web for any real information about this. I personally would think it is some kind of parasite, but in all the bits and pieces I've read I only come up with pregnant (don't think so), ate too much (really?), and "It's going to die".

Although the tank in the LFS these came out of has had oto's in it for several weeks now, I guess I can't assume that all the individuals have been there that entire time; they could constantly add in new ones I suppose. I really would assume that they have, as I mentioned previously, a parasite or a bacterial infection.

Does anyone know anything concrete about this symptom in otos? Should I treat the tank with something? I bought API General Cure because previously I've seen it recommmended, but I can't find out anything about the inactive ingredients and I don't want to kill off my Amanos or my nerite snail and of course there are equal numbers of opposing opinions about the safety of this product. It was the only anti-parasite medication that I could find in Pet... I've also read good things about Prazipro, but I would have to order it. Of course if it's bacterial or viral, neither of those meds will help.

The tank is 29G, planted of course, and currently houses 2 juvenile female bettas, the shrimp, the nerite, the otos, and some MTS. To complicate matters I have a shipment of fish arriving tomorrow for that tank. I really don't want to put medication in the tank if it could be harmful to anyone.

So, does anyone have any ideas about what is wrong with the poor oto or whether or not General Cure is really worth dumping in the tank? Does anyone know if new sick otos can transfer this "disease" to other fish? I saw no mention of that happening in what I read, but I would think it can happen.

Thank you very much inadvance!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 02:56 AM
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Unfortunately this is such a common issue with these guys. Its truly sad what they go through before you even end up with them. Have a read here and it explains the issues with them and what they go through and why most just do not make it. Basically long story short these guys are starved by the time they make it to you or even the pet store. They have what you call symbiotic gut basically they have bacteria that they rely on bacteria in their gut to digest the cellulose that composes the cell walls of algaes. This bacteria die pretty fast when the fish goes any length without eating. So not only are they starving but they can no longer process the food that they eat and most likely what you are seeing with the bloated belly. Very sorry and hope he somehow pulls through. https://www.myaquariumclub.com/befor...this-8507.html
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 03:46 AM
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I have four oto cats in a shrimp tank that are doing pretty good. My gf had some otos in one of her tanks that weren't doing well at all, in fact, a few died leaving just the one. I took that one and added it to my shrimp tank with the other oto's and it pulled through and has been healthy since. I never heard of the bacteria problem that @clownplanted mentioned, but it makes me wonder if dosing my tank with Bacter AE has somehow helped the Oto's in the tank. When I got my Oto's they pooped so much it was ridiculous and it concerned me, but after a few days they normalized and are all good now. Just my experience with them, maybe it will help.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
Unfortunately this is such a common issue with these guys. Its truly sad what they go through before you even end up with them. Have a read here and it explains the issues with them and what they go through and why most just do not make it. Basically long story short these guys are starved by the time they make it to you or even the pet store. They have what you call symbiotic gut basically they have bacteria that they rely on bacteria in their gut to digest the cellulose that composes the cell walls of algaes. This bacteria die pretty fast when the fish goes any length without eating. So not only are they starving but they can no longer process the food that they eat and most likely what you are seeing with the bloated belly. Very sorry and hope he somehow pulls through. https://www.myaquariumclub.com/befor...this-8507.html
Wow, it's so very sad that people still use methods like this in the wild to catch fish. Thank you VERY much for posting the link to this article; it is something everyone should read. As much as I'd like to at least have 4-5 oto's for this tank, maybe I should just hope that the 2 that currently look healthy stay that way. Unfortunately this morning that swollen one looks worse and I'm sure it will die in a few hours as did the last one that looked that way. Is there not anything to help them? Why don't they get this way in the LFS's? Because there is nothing at all to eat there? Basically I'm guessing that it is now stuffed with undigestible algae.

At least I can say that I have to algae for the remainng little guys, now I'm afraid it will run out! So, what do people think, should we not buy oto's, boycotting a cruel practice? You know, this is why I bought the betta girls, because I was sure they'd die in the pet superstore as they'd been there so long or that someone would buy them and kill them at home. I've already promised myself that I will never buy "baby" bettas, or any betta from that place again.

So, if you have an appropriately planted tank with algae to support them, do you keep buying oto's until you get the number you want, hoping that half will make it and watching the rest die? Or do you leave them to their fate in the LFS knowing that they'll mostly all die there or in someone elses tank that may not be planted and have algae? Moral dimena for sure.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pluke View Post
I have four oto cats in a shrimp tank that are doing pretty good. My gf had some otos in one of her tanks that weren't doing well at all, in fact, a few died leaving just the one. I took that one and added it to my shrimp tank with the other oto's and it pulled through and has been healthy since. I never heard of the bacteria problem that @clownplanted mentioned, but it makes me wonder if dosing my tank with Bacter AE has somehow helped the Oto's in the tank. When I got my Oto's they pooped so much it was ridiculous and it concerned me, but after a few days they normalized and are all good now. Just my experience with them, maybe it will help.
An intersting thought. I just found the product on Amazon and am thinking about ordering it since I also have Amano shrimp in the tank. Oddly the poor oto with the swollen belly has a bunch of poop right next to it (it is up in the floating plants). I would have thought that if it could pass feces that it would be able to digest it's food, but maybe not.

Last edited by beckyhiker; 11-09-2017 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Remove repeated quote
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 06:26 PM
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Otos are really cute. But I have quit buying them because I learned about how badly they are treated in the process, and I just can't keep them alive long. I am down to one (out of 9 that I acquired at different times) and even though I am sure it is lonely (it was schooling with my corydoras for a while and feeding alongside them), I can't bring myself to buy any more... but since this one lasted two years so far I expect it to live a good long while.

If its making lots of poop but still bloated, maybe you could try an epsom salt bath as laxative. BUT look up more details on that first- I know they are sensitive fish- I've never given an oto epsom salts probably you want to use a lower dose.

If the poop is normal color/consistency I would guess it's not parasites? But for that, I have used General Cure with success (on other fish). It didn't hurt my snails, but I couldn't find anything definitive online whether or not safe for shrimp so while GC was in my tank I took the amano shrimps out and kept them in a container with small sponge filter. General Cure has metronidazole and praziquantel- the metro is antibacterial and the prazi is anti-parasitic. But it only works for certain kinds of bacteria and certain kinds of parasites. So when I used it for suspected parasites, I followed up with a dose of levamisole HCl- that covers the other kinds of parasites it could be.

If it could be bacterial, likewise there are different kinds and you need the right medication... General Cure will only work for certain type. I found some info here: Metronidazole; by SeaChem, API, More For me, it's always difficult to figure out what might actually be afflicting my fish, in order to pick the right medication to try...

I hope your oto pulls through
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ09 View Post
Otos are really cute. But I have quit buying them because I learned about how badly they are treated in the process, and I just can't keep them alive long. I am down to one (out of 9 that I acquired at different times) and even though I am sure it is lonely (it was schooling with my corydoras for a while and feeding alongside them), I can't bring myself to buy any more... but since this one lasted two years so far I expect it to live a good long while.

If its making lots of poop but still bloated, maybe you could try an epsom salt bath as laxative. BUT look up more details on that first- I know they are sensitive fish- I've never given an oto epsom salts probably you want to use a lower dose.

If the poop is normal color/consistency I would guess it's not parasites? But for that, I have used General Cure with success (on other fish). It didn't hurt my snails, but I couldn't find anything definitive online whether or not safe for shrimp so while GC was in my tank I took the amano shrimps out and kept them in a container with small sponge filter. General Cure has metronidazole and praziquantel- the metro is antibacterial and the prazi is anti-parasitic. But it only works for certain kinds of bacteria and certain kinds of parasites. So when I used it for suspected parasites, I followed up with a dose of levamisole HCl- that covers the other kinds of parasites it could be.

If it could be bacterial, likewise there are different kinds and you need the right medication... General Cure will only work for certain type. I found some info here: Metronidazole; by SeaChem, API, More For me, it's always difficult to figure out what might actually be afflicting my fish, in order to pick the right medication to try...

I hope your oto pulls through
Thank you and thanks for the link to the article.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 04:16 AM
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I just had one of my otos die today. Bloated stomach with a red mark. The thing is that I've had them for about 6 months now and they have been just fine until today. Don't know what it is.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 08:21 AM
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4 otos were my first tank inhabitants after cycling when I had a huge algae bloom. Took a chance & got some at PetSmart that had just arrived and looked healthy. All not just survived but thrived as they gorged on all the algae. That was 6 months ago, and now that the tank has grown in I never see more than two at a time, and have no idea if all 4 are still around, though I haven't seen any corpses (though I imagine the assassin snails & ghost shrimp would make short work of any dead fish)

i've read that they're now breeding otos in the SE Asian fish business. Seems unlikely PetSmart could've offered healthy otos for $2.49 each if they were wild collected. Does anyone know if they're being commercially raised these days?

Re the lack of gut flora to digest algae in starved fish: I wonder if being in contact with poop from healthy fish with the right gut flora could seed their guts so they could properly digest algae?
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