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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My main 55gal tank finally cycled and tested perfect so I decided to get some fish. Went to PetSmart and got 5 little Ottos, 3 were dead in the bag before we ever got home and the other 2 died within a day. I think im gonna give up on ottos. Anyone have suggestions on what to try? All we have around here is Petsmart and Petco. I have some common pleco in the other tanks but they get so big and this one is planted heavily(when it fills in) and I dont want them uprooted constantly.

Thanks in advance

Does anyone have luck ordering fish online?
 

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I generally wait a week or two before I buy otos from my local PetsMart since I know their shipments come in on Thursday and I can judge by the stocking level if they've been ordered or not. All 5 of mine are still alive from a couple weeks ago. Befriending someone who works in the fish dept. never hurts either. :) If you want to order fish then I'd personally suggest msjinkzd. I know the store I go to only sells vittatus otos so if you want more variety (affinis, zebras, etc) then you'd be better off ordering from someone on here.
 

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Go there and find out when they are feeding them and then watch for otos that are actively eating. If you don't want to try otos again, go with a rubberlip pleco. They stay small and are perfect for community tanks and eat algae all their lives.
 

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You need to buy the healthy ones. I don't know about you but I went to visit my nearest Petsmart. They seem to have more sick fish than in my local petco. Maybe the staff there are less experienced with fish keeping? You should order Ottos from Rachel.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/invertebrates-msjinkzd/

I have purchased total of 9 Ottos from my LFS. I lost 2 of them after I have moved some drift wood in the tank. 1 died the next day later. Shocks or stress??? I bought another 3 the next day. So far, I have 5 surviving for over 1 month.
 

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James816 (not sure of exact number) has tank-bred otos for sale (and bred by him) that have been fairing better than from any other source
 

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I think the biggest issue with otos is twofold.

1. they are imported in huge numbers and little water. they are often not fed properly upon import. Also, because they are so crowded in the bags, stores assume they are diseased when pale or thin so treat them immediately.

2. Often, importers or stores put them into water treated with antibiotics. Becasue they are an obligate algae eaters with specialized long digestive tracts, this kills all the bacteria in their gut used to digest teh algae that they eat (would otherwise be undigestable). Because of this, they cannot turn the food that they are eating into usable nutrients and end up starving.

If you can get otos that have round bellies and are obviously well, they usually do great. If buying from a store, you might ask how long they have been there, what they are being fed, if they are eating, and if they have been treated wtih antiobiotics.

If they have been treated with antibiotics, dont' buy them.

I get them in in groups of 1000 and rarely have losses.

I feed them a mix of cultured algaes and algae specific gel foods (most recently been trying that of allen repashy which is in prototype) like mazuri.

Supplementation with vegetables can be helpful, but no matter what you offer them, if the bacteria used to aid digestion are not present, they cannot digest the food properly.
 

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Check their tanks and see the condition they are in before buying. I never purchased a fish anywhere and had it die in the bag. After a few hours or the next day is another story. I assume you bought it and went straight home.
 

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I never had luck with Otos at chain stores either. I finally found a LFS that seemed to have good stock and I have picked up a total of probably 30 of them over the last 4-5 months and not had single one die.

The key seems to be that they had been in the store for a while and had already adapted to eating fish food and all of the sick ones had long since died.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Lol I never have good luck, a few months ago I moved a plastic rock formation out of my tank because one of my Jewel Cichlids was hiding in it and I was trying to get them out of the tank, when I moved it the stuff that settled in it came out, and by an hour all of the Emperor tetra were dead, and the cory's were laying on their sides, I quickly moved them to a 26 gallon planted tank, lost none but ended up having to completely empty the tank and start from scratch.
 

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+1 on msjinkzd. Recently got 6 ottos and they're vigorous and healthy. I had bad luck with chain stores as well.
 

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I got my 2 otos from Petsmart... healthy, fat algae eating machines, they are... bad luck, I guess. I can see how they would be especially vulnerable to typical chain store conditions. At least they have the (very reasonable) 14 day guarantee.

My local Petsmart is considerably better than other stores in the area, even some of the independently owned ones. Kinda sad, when you think about it.
 

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I only buy my otto's from Rachel (msjinkzd), haven't lost one to doa from her yet, or any shortly after acclimating to my tanks. As a matter of fact, I haven't had a single DOA from any fish/invert I've ever ordered from Rachel. Quality lady....
 
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