Has anyone actually seen ottos school? Even stay together? - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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That video was amazing! They looked like a school of baitfish with a shark around the way they rolled the water surface. And those guys knew right where they were. Wonder if something big wasn't swimming by?

An aside, has anyone ever bred these? In the early days of my group, I saw like 6 eggs on an anubias leaf and couldn't think of much else in there that could have been responsible. They were gone the next day, and it's a 125 with a big canister on it so I didn't think much of it. But I never saw that it happened again -if it was even the otos. I'm guessing the raising of fry is the difficult part.
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post #17 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:59 PM
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That video was amazing! They looked like a school of baitfish with a shark around the way they rolled the water surface. And those guys knew right where they were. Wonder if something big wasn't swimming by?

An aside, has anyone ever bred these? In the early days of my group, I saw like 6 eggs on an anubias leaf and couldn't think of much else in there that could have been responsible. They were gone the next day, and it's a 125 with a big canister on it so I didn't think much of it. But I never saw that it happened again -if it was even the otos. I'm guessing the raising of fry is the difficult part.
There are several reports of breeding ottos in captivity now of days. It doesn't seem too common, but it may not be as hard or impossible as once believed.

To answer your question in the OP, mine tend to be close together but not in a tight group, if that makes any sense. I have 6 in a 40b and if I see one, usually 2-3 others are nearby. I've been thinking of adding to their group because they're pretty funny little buggers.
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post #18 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 06:04 AM
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One thing about that video I am pretty sure is a trapped pool with decreasing water level. Not saying they arent in big groups just that is like a small pool in the summer time from a creek drying up and all the fish or whatever are caught in it.

When I had 6 in my 40B they would hang out 1 or 2 together during the day or by themselves as stated. If you really want to see them playing together go down during the middle of the night and take a dim light. I have caught them all together out eating in a group. Infact this was the only way I found out I still had more then 1 in my 40.

I have 2 in my 10g and they do stay together more then the larger numbers in the bigger tank. The 2 are generally within a couple inches of one another.
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post #19 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 01:12 PM
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When new mine do but over time they seem less inclined. I've had a number of long term survivor Otos in small quantities and they seem to do fine. Same goes for Corydoras to be honest. But everyone freaks out if you have less than 6.


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post #20 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 06:59 PM
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When new mine do but over time they seem less inclined. I've had a number of long term survivor Otos in small quantities and they seem to do fine. Same goes for Corydoras to be honest. But everyone freaks out if you have less than 6.


I will say that mine seem less shy with more of them, but they donít group tightly very often.


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post #21 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 10:08 PM
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Don't think of shoaling fish as the same as ocean schools. Shoaling fish are content to do their own thing the safer they feel, so you will see less "schooling" the happier and safer they are. Tetras do the same thing. The more content they are in the tank the more they wander off from the group. If your groupings are consistently tight there is probably something in the tank they see as a threat. Think of a shoal as a family unit. They ultimately each have their own lives and things to do, but they are happier and safer because there is always someone close by. If they don't have a reason to need to protect each other you will only see them gather when they feel like it.



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post #22 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 10:52 PM
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Don't think of shoaling fish as the same as ocean schools. Shoaling fish are content to do their own thing the safer they feel, so you will see less "schooling" the happier and safer they are. Tetras do the same thing. The more content they are in the tank the more they wander off from the group. If your groupings are consistently tight there is probably something in the tank they see as a threat. Think of a shoal as a family unit. They ultimately each have their own lives and things to do, but they are happier and safer because there is always someone close by. If they don't have a reason to need to protect each other you will only see them gather when they feel like it.



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This seems pretty accurate with all of my tetras except the rummy nose. They school pretty tightly and travel as a group.


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post #23 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 11:51 PM
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Ever read this? One of the most comprehensive studies on otocinclus sp. ( and there are many varieties) Ive seen anywhere- net or print book.

TFH Magazine Forum ? View topic - The Otocinclus Paper [Work In Progress]


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post #24 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 02:24 AM
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Mine will group tightly when stressed, introduced into a new tank or during a water change/pruning, and maintain the tight group for a day or so afterwards until they settle back in and it's back to being independent with the occasional group play, following.
This exactly.


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post #25 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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Ever read this? One of the most comprehensive studies on otocinclus sp. ( and there are many varieties) Ive seen anywhere- net or print book.

TFH Magazine Forum ? View topic - The Otocinclus Paper [Work In Progress]
That was a great read, thank you so much for posting that! I do bang my head when people suggest keeping even or odd numbers (would they really be happier in a group of 5 than 6?), but that minor gripe aside; that article and the earlier fishing video changed my perspective on them. So much that I don't know if I'll ever buy more again. They really haven't evolved a way of life that translates over well to the home aquarium. We already know the need for food is so high with otos -and so rarely do I have a big, soft/acid water, thickly planted tank that I think is going to be a film algae farm. I haven't bought a batch in 5 years and still have a few hanging on, so I guess I'm not doing poorly by them. But I can't think of a fish that I've had a higher percentage of die within a week or two upon shipping.
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post #26 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
That was a great read, thank you so much for posting that! I do bang my head when people suggest keeping even or odd numbers (would they really be happier in a group of 5 than 6?), but that minor gripe aside; that article and the earlier fishing video changed my perspective on them. So much that I don't know if I'll ever buy more again. They really haven't evolved a way of life that translates over well to the home aquarium. We already know the need for food is so high with otos -and so rarely do I have a big, soft/acid water, thickly planted tank that I think is going to be a film algae farm. I haven't bought a batch in 5 years and still have a few hanging on, so I guess I'm not doing poorly by them. But I can't think of a fish that I've had a higher percentage of die within a week or two upon shipping.
They are very specialized in diet and care. And that in combination with the obstacles that they have to go through before they reach our tanks contribute to the high loss that many experience when buy them. These factors being: primarily wild-caught because do not breed readily in the aquarium, some bad collection techniques at the site of collection, the problem with "starvation" that comes from stress of transportation and acclimation ( collection point> wholesaler > LFS> hobbyist's own tank).

Often, also, being wild-caught, otocinclus deal with internal parasites of the gut that within their natural environment they are able to combat ( live in stasis with). However, given the stress of collection, transport, starvation, and several consequent acclimations - this balance tips in favor of the parasite.


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post #27 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:46 AM
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I usually can't find more than one or two in the tank.
but every now and then all seven will be stuck to the glass in one spot, usually a corner
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post #28 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 12:34 PM
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Are they not being bred for sale at all? I was surprised to find healthy looking ones at the local Petsmart for $2.49 each--which seems unlikely if they were wild-collected & transported. Bought mine there in desperation to deal with my new tank algae outbreak, and they've thrived.

Now that they've eaten through the algae though, I"m having trouble getting them to eat anything else. Algae wafers, cucumber slices, lettuce etc are ignored and the snails swarm them instead. They continue to look for algae on the glass & plant leaves. Short of glueing lettuce leaves to the glass, any suggestions?
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post #29 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 01:21 PM
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What kind of algae wafers have you tried? Many of them are just straight-up protein and a tiny bit of vegetable matter. It's really deceptive.

Try shopping around until you find something that's primarily vegetable matter or algae and you'll likely have better luck.

Something else to keep in mind: they'll eat when they're hungry. 99% of the time if they aren't eating? They're just not hungry.

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Algae wafers, cucumber slices, lettuce etc are ignored and the snails swarm them instead. They continue to look for algae on the glass & plant leaves. Short of glueing lettuce leaves to the glass, any suggestions?
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post #30 of 63 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 01:54 PM
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Mine do the same thing--usually mornings & evenings. I've got 4, and 3 will hang out and/or play together. The 4th always seems to be odd man out. The rest of the time they're off doing their own thing.

When I had 4 they did the same thing! 3 would always be together and the fourth would hang out on a leaf and stare at them and their tomfoolery!

I've since added 2 more all 6 seem to just do their own thing now save when I do water changes. Go figure.
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