Otocinclus cocama!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Otocinclus cocama!!!

Today I went to one of my favorite local fish stores, a mom and pop outfit called the Planted Aquarium Store here in Fort Lauderdale. I was on the search for more aquarium moss to complete my moss wall for my 30gal oto/shrimp tank. When I got there I was informed that they were out of moss (should have called first cause its like 30 minutes from my house) so I decided not to waste the trip and started to look around at their great selection of fishes and plants, almost all of which are specifically there because they are great for planted aquaria like my own.

Now, I have always had a thing for otos and have been working on spawning a few different common species recently with mixed success, so naturally I was drawn to their oto tank to see if they had any nice plump females or solid looking males to add to my growing shoal and what did my eyes gaze upon!? Otocinclus cocama!!!! Needless to say, they were in about as good of condition as you could ask for and had been there for about a week already. I purchased 4 of them and they are drip-acclimating as we speak. I am so excited. I will post some pictures once they are in and exploring.

While I am familiar with this species and its needs, these are my first ones and I don't want to make any rookie mistakes with them. I know there are a few of you on this forum that have kept these guys before and even spawned them (obviously my goal) and if you could be so generous, please feel free to share your experiences with these fish and any pointers you may have stumbled upon while keeping them. Particular favorite foods, spawning triggers, behaviors? Even the water parameters you have experienced the best results with. Anything that could help me be as successful as possible with these fish would be appreciated.


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 12:35 AM
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Congrats on the awesome Otos. I love Otos as well but haven't had to much success having lost 5 out of my 7. Hope you are able to find a consistent way to breed them and hopefully share it with the rest of us who love Otos as well. Can't wait to see the pics!
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 12:37 AM
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I have 3. They're pretty active and fun to watch. I haven't heard of any spawning.

They like the repashy green fish food. I also make my own.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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I make my own repashy knock-off as well with steamed cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, peas, carrots and various veggie baby foods as well as powdered algae pellets, flakes and wafers. I blend it all together and add boiling water that I've dissolved agar agar into and let that set in the fridge. I freeze what won't be used that week.

For the zebras, I've read that they are slightly carnivorous but I have not yet found anything online that verifies this speculation. I feel like a lot of what you read about the more rare fish species out there is just a bunch of repeated speculation and that one website just copies their info from some other equally under-qualified website that either copied it from someone else or simply assumed things. It is so hard to find hard scientific info out there these days.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeD323 View Post
I feel like a lot of what you read about the more rare fish species out there is just a bunch of repeated speculation and that one website just copies their info from some other equally under-qualified website that either copied it from someone else or simply assumed things. It is so hard to find hard scientific info out there these days.
QFT - I couldn't agree more with this. A healthy dose of skepticism is often required when reading things on the 'net.

I don't really give much credence to the more carnivorous theory either, hard to see how Otocinclus could be designed for anything but grazing biofilm and algae off surfaces. OK every so often a "vampire Otocinclus" turns up in a tank eating the slime coat of a larger fish, but am extremely skeptical of this happening in the wild...

I am working on breeding cocama (and Otocinclus in general), so are other people I believe. I fluked spawning cocama a couple of times and now can not repeat it. Currently, I'm thinking what triggered the spawns was low pressure but that is a little difficult to control.

I would treat them just like any other Otocinclus - "algae wafers" are OK in moderation but would stick mainly to algae or veggie based food. Soft-ish, slightly acidic to neutral water seems to work fine for me.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 12:50 PM
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That's awesome!! I have to check that store out next time I am in the area. Is the store mostly freshwater planted stuff or do they have some salt water stuff too?

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for your input unissuh. I agree with you in that I am very skeptical of the rumors about them being more carnivorous. I just can't see it happening. And as for the otos that latch onto fish in tanks, I attribute that to them being starving because only people like us bother to feed them.

I go out of my way to prepare vegan gel foods for them and feed them a 2 square inch piece every other day. About 20 adult otos can completely devour a piece that size in about 8 hours.

Currently, my 4 zebras are in my 30long with the rest of my otos, some sakura red shrimps and a shoal of 9 immature threadfin rainbows, which I'd like to spawn in there eventually as well. All 4 survived the night but still look pretty stressed out. All 4 are rapidly breathing, but all seem to be comfortably perched around the tank. I noticed one was next to the gel food I put in at noon (which is covered in common otos at the moment) but wasn't eating when I looked. I'm hoping all four survive this critical first week.

Pictures coming tonight if I can get the camera charged.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and The Planted Aquarium Store does not carry reef supplies or anything like that. They are pretty strictly committed to their name lol



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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 11:29 PM
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Some other comments/thoughts while I remember:

-Couldn't trigger spawning in cocama by transferring water from a tank containing spawning common Otocinclus or Corydoras habrosus

-Eggs don't seem as adhesive as other Otocinclus, I had quite a few fall down from the leaf after a couple of days

-Fry take longer to hatch/grow, hatch time is 3 days as opposed to 2 days for most (all?) common Otocinclus.

-I feed nori, NLS wafer, blanched veggies (in order of amount I feed) ad libitum (i.e. whenever they run out of food I just add more), they regulate themselves. While I don't believe the carnivorous theory, I play it safe by using the wafers which should in theory supply any chitin/meat requirement they have.

-Seed shrimp or cherry shrimp will eat cocama eggs if there are a lot of them

-2 weeks is usually the "safe" mark for most Otocinclus fry, but I managed to lose the cocama bunch after they were well and truely juveniles. I think that there is something in prepared foods that isn't present in tank biofilm/algae which they might require to grow.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thats very interesting. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I've read some of your stuff and seen your videos on youtube before. Let me just say, I am impressed with what you accomplished with them regardless of your success with the juvies. You already managed to win 3/4 of the battle and I'm sure a couple of tweaks in your diet plan for the juvies would resolve that issue next time.

I just completed a water change and I'm waiting for remaining debris to settle before I try to take a few photos of them. One in particular seems pretty stressed out. Breathing quickly and resting at the bottom while the other 3 are on a perch somewhere in the tank. I'm hoping for the best. Still havent seen foraging behavior yet, but I also haven't been going near the tank very much (aside from the w/c) in an attempt to avoid further stress.

Out of curiosity, what was the peak water temp you kept these guys at? I've read everything from low 70's (which wouldn't entirely surprise me, being that theyre Peruvian) to the warmer 78-80 range that most common otos and dwarf cories like. Right now they are right around 79*F because they are living with the common otos and pygmy cories.

Any advise on temp, hardness and any other params? Your input is pretty much my Bible on these guys because I don't trust the majority of what the net says these days.


Thanks for all the help!
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 01:09 AM
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I keep my 6 in a CRS/CBS tank so the temp is around 70-74 depending on ambient temp. Water is pH 6.2, GH=6, KH=0-1. They are happy and feed mainly on tank biofilm but also eat repashy soilent green and shrimp souffle.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Also very interesting. I have been told by some "keepers" that they do very well at warmer temperatures in the high 70's. Either these fish are more flexible than many think or I have been reading more speculation than I thought lol

I am excited to hear from unissuh about what they found to be a good temp. I'd like to put together a more comprehensive care sheet on these fish as well as common otos in the future. This family is severely under researched and too many people have no clue what they are doing with them.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Just a few shots of the fish after the water change. The one on the substrate is the one I'm worried about. Also included a full tank shot so you guys had an idea of what I was working with. The center will soon be much more grown in with red wendtii (melted two weeks ago and is bouncing back). Also, if anyone has enough moss to complete the other half of the wall, don't be shy, donations are welcome lol


But for real...I'll take your extra moss...
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 02:42 AM
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I've kept them between 73-80F. When they bred the tank was at 77F so I would suggest that range is probably fine. I reckon they could take hotter too.

My water readings when they bred was something like pH 6.6, 2 dGH, <1 dKH, 1 ppm PO4, 10 ppm NO3. It's pretty typical of how the tank tends to run. I have a cheap TDS meter that reads as 20-30 ppm if that helps, not sure what the conversion it uses from uS/cm is.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much! That info is incredibly useful. Even though it seems pretty standard as far as tank params, its the first hard facts I've seen about keeping these fish. As a side note, its pretty encouraging that those readings are almost identical to my tank on a normal day

temp: 78-80*F
pH: between 6.6 and 6.8 on the color scale
dGH: 0-1
dKH: 0-1
NO3: 5-10ppm


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