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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, 2 of my oto affinis died a few days ago. I couldn't figure out how they died. My water parameters were good. I had no ammonia in the tank and my nitrates were on the low side. Read around the 5ppm area. Now the two that I have left were the ones that aren't as active as the ones that previously died.

Anyways, I have one that looks super bloated or fat... keeps hanging by the intake of the filter. I noticed the two that died were very much like this one. What could be the cause of this? The only thing I do is dose 3ml of Excel. Is that too much? Is that irritating the otos? I think this one might be going soon...

 

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Looks full of eggs. Do otos get egg-binding disease? Just a thought. I've never seen mine full of eggs. I think mine are all males. Look around the tank and see if the others laid eggs before they died. You might end up with babies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looks full of eggs. Do otos get egg-binding disease? Just a thought. I've never seen mine full of eggs. I think mine are all males.
I had one that looked just like it before she died, bigger in size too, bigger than this one.

Honestly don't know, hopefully more people will chime in. Besides I heard these were hard to breed as well. So I don't think that's the case. It's sad because I bought them when they were very well underfed now they are fat, but this one seems to be uncomfortably fat since the last couple days...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'd check for eggs in the tank from the others that died.
How would they look? I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary or different since their death. Would the eggs be floating on the surface or stuck somewhere? I haven't noticed any eggs.

What I did just find was a big slimey goop I just picked it out with my tweezers for aquascaping.. I'm thinking it might of been a huge bladder snail eggs.. Lol.

Just don't understand why they hang around the filter intake before their death...
 

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@AdamTill has bred Otos. Maybe he can discern whether your is pregnant or not.
He has a thread here, it might have a picture of some pregnant Otos.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/900401-breeding-otocinclus-we-have-eggs.html
You could search "Pregnant Otocinclus" on Google images as well, though I wouldn't always trust that the images are correctly "diagnosed" as pregnant.

Bladder snail egg gelatin sacs are easy to tell apart from slimy fish feces and otos eggs. Look at some Google images of each.

Are you sure they are willingly hanging out on the filter intake? Or are they too weak and being sucked onto the filter intake (which can be common for weak/dying fish)?

Happen to know your other water parameters such as pH, KH, GH, temperature, which might be helpful in determining if they are breeding or if they are simply dying or developing fluid retention (improper osmotic balance) due to water chemistry.

Know exactly what they have been eating? Any meaty foods?

For bloat or fluid retention, epsom salt dips should help. If pregnant dips wouldn't help I don't think (might be beneficial to birthing in some odd way??? I don't think so though). Infections would call for medicated dips using Methylene Blue. Or maybe Metronidazole (to help absorb into digestive tract) and Neomycin combo.
 

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Oto diagnosis

We don't have enough information. How large is the tank? How long has it been set up? Do you measure TDS? Otos prefer softer water. I never let my TDS exceed 175 ppm and prefer to keep it closer to 130 ppm.

Otos are frequently caught with cyanide. It takes a while but they often will die a slow death in your tank. Normally, I do not lose otos after the first two weeks in my aquarium (unless it is due to old age).

Your tank is not stable. I can see significant algae. Are you dosing CO2? Fertilizers? What other water parameters do you test?

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@AdamTill has bred Otos. Maybe he can discern whether your is pregnant or not.
He has a thread here, it might have a picture of some pregnant Otos.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/900401-breeding-otocinclus-we-have-eggs.html
You could search "Pregnant Otocinclus" on Google images as well, though I wouldn't always trust that the images are correctly "diagnosed" as pregnant.

Bladder snail egg gelatin sacs are easy to tell apart from slimy fish feces and otos eggs. Look at some Google images of each.

Are you sure they are willingly hanging out on the filter intake? Or are they too weak and being sucked onto the filter intake (which can be common for weak/dying fish)?

Happen to know your other water parameters such as pH, KH, GH, temperature, which might be helpful in determining if they are breeding or if they are simply dying or developing fluid retention (improper osmotic balance) due to water chemistry.

Know exactly what they have been eating? Any meaty foods?
Well it was hanging close to the intake filter yesterday. Would swim around and then hang back onto the intake filter. Now looks like its too weak to go away from the suction or something. But I did see it move up some above the suction cup.
I think the fish is dying more than anything. I don't know why though. That's the issue.

The last time I checked my pH it looked to be around 7.6 I don't have a test kit for GH and KH. Which I should probably invest in now.

Yeah the gel like thing that I removed was clear and didn't look like a snail egg at all. I've seen bladder snail eggs before and this one was definitely different. It was stuck in between one of my pennyworts that I had floating. The gel was floating instead of sinking like how bladder snail eggs do from what I've seen and removed and it wasn't sticky. That's for sure. I have no idea what it is.. I just removed it and wiped it on a paper towel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Quick little update. ..

The tank lights went off and now the oto is hiding somewhere. Nowhere near the intake filter. Swam to the other side of the tank and I see it on the bottom laying on it's side. I think it's dying for sure. .. looks dead...

Also, I stopped feeding them algae wafers because it was making my tank super filthy and I noticed the otos weren't really attracted to it.


EDIT: The fish ended up dead as soon as the lights when out. Guess it took it's last strength to get to the other side of the tank to the other oto and died right next to it... Sigh... I wonder what I'm doing wrong... Temps are 74 degrees. PH 7.8, I believe. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates ~5 ppm.
 

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How long did you have them? That was a vittatus btw, not an affinis (golden oto). Looked female, doubt it died from anything to do with being gravid.

They like the filter intake because of the current. Mine have always seemed to prefer higher flow tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How long did you have them? That was a vittatus btw, not an affinis (golden oto). Looked female, doubt it died from anything to do with being gravid.

They like the filter intake because of the current. Mine have always seemed to prefer higher flow tanks.
Hmm... I thought those were affinis. I guess I didn't research correctly.

I had them for almost a month before they died... I had 4 now down to 1. Also, what do you mean by gravid? Curious as to how or why they died.
 

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Here's my advice: (You are probably aware of all of this, but just in case...)
My otos love zuchini. Just stick a slice on a fork so it doesn't float, and place it on the bottom of the tank. They will find it. I give mine zuchini once a week, along with algae wafers a couple times a week, (just a small piece for only 1 oto!). It looks like you have plenty of algae for them to graze on, but they need much more than just tank algae. Algae wafers in small amounts a few times a week should not foul up your tank. I break mine into 4ths and feed small pieces over the week. You will be surprised how they will devour a slice of zuchini. Take what is left of it out of the tank after a couple of days.
Otos are very sensitive to water chemistry. I dechlorinate with each water change (of course!), making sure the water is the same temperature.
This sounds so basic, but because they are sensitive, any deviation from good husbandry can kill them.
(Again, sorry to tell you what you probably already know!)
If they were in bad shape when you brought them home, it could be that nothing you did would have saved them anyway. Hopefully you will be able to keep the one you have left. In a month or two, if it is looking healthy, you should add a few more and try again! I lived just south of Denver for about 10 years, and I know the water can be very alkaline. I'd keep an eye on your pH. It could be too high and you might need to bring it down.
That's all I can think of right now. I miss Colorado sometimes. It is such a beautiful state.:laugh2:
 

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Gavid means egg laden, which is a more accurate term than pregnant for otos. They don't use internal fertilization, and so the female doesn't carry developing embryos like a liverbearer would.

It could really be a few things, so I doubt you'll ever know entirely. Otos are softwater fish, so not knowing your KH/GH makes that a tough one to eliminate. The fish you showed looked healthy, and didn't seem to be starving, so that's not a likely cause. Could have been stress too, since they're schooling/shoaling fish and really should be in significant groups. Otherwise tap water contaminants or the like.



This is a true affinis, note the gold colour. Otos in the hobby are labelled "zebra" for cocama, or "affinis/vittatus" for literally everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's my advice: (You are probably aware of all of this, but just in case...)
My otos love zuchini. Just stick a slice on a fork so it doesn't float, and place it on the bottom of the tank. They will find it. I give mine zuchini once a week, along with algae wafers a couple times a week, (just a small piece for only 1 oto!). It looks like you have plenty of algae for them to graze on, but they need much more than just tank algae. Algae wafers in small amounts a few times a week should not foul up your tank. I break mine into 4ths and feed small pieces over the week. You will be surprised how they will devour a slice of zuchini. Take what is left of it out of the tank after a couple of days.
Otos are very sensitive to water chemistry. I dechlorinate with each water change (of course!), making sure the water is the same temperature.
This sounds so basic, but because they are sensitive, any deviation from good husbandry can kill them.
(Again, sorry to tell you what you probably already know!)
If they were in bad shape when you brought them home, it could be that nothing you did would have saved them anyway. Hopefully you will be able to keep the one you have left. In a month or two, if it is looking healthy, you should add a few more and try again! I lived just south of Denver for about 10 years, and I know the water can be very alkaline. I'd keep an eye on your pH. It could be too high and you might need to bring it down.
That's all I can think of right now. I miss Colorado sometimes. It is such a beautiful state.:laugh2:
Thanks for the reminder. What would I have to do if my ph is too high? I have ada aqua soil and thought possibly the ph would be lower, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I wanna try to do this in a more natural way than with some sort of chemical so it doesn't cause huge swings. I will be purchasing a gh and kh kit either today or tomorrow.
 

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Peat filtration or RO are some of the practical means of reducing KH (which will buffer the pH higher) and TDS (dissolved solids). Softwater fish are often actually sensitive to dissolved solids rather than high pH.
 

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Thanks for the reminder. What would I have to do if my ph is too high? I have ada aqua soil and thought possibly the ph would be lower, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I wanna try to do this in a more natural way than with some sort of chemical so it doesn't cause huge swings. I will be purchasing a gh and kh kit either today or tomorrow.
I have used dried oak leaves and hardwood to lower pH easily. The water will turn brownish with the tanins. Many people like this look. It may or may not work depending on your water's hardness. If you put a load of leaves or some pieces of hardwood in your tank, it should change the pH overnite noticeably. If it does not, then you may have to look at other options. Check with other hobbyists in your area to find out how they are keeping fish that need a lower pH. OR, you could give up keeping these types of fish, and go for fish that love your naturally occurring high pH, like some African cichlids, etc. There are a whole list of fish I would love to keep that can live in higher pH.
 

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You could try tetra blackwater extract, it will lower pH by reducing kh and gh. I would play with some in a 5 litre bucket until I get it pinned down. Just adding the full recommended dose can cause big problems in certain situations. or at least this is what some people claim. The7 have a pH down buffer, so I guess the bulk of the work should be done by that, if you can't attain it naturally.
 

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That is a wise choice. I think my biggest compromise fishes are my angelfishes and corydoras. The angels is from a fish farm, not half a mile from my house though. But for the rest I stick with live bearers suitable to my tapwater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That is a wise choice. I think my biggest compromise fishes are my angelfishes and corydoras. The angels is from a fish farm, not half a mile from my house though. But for the rest I stick with live bearers suitable to my tapwater.

So, if I have really high pH are there a big list of fish that can be kept in a 10 gallon tank? I can't really upgrade to a bigger tank for quite a while.
 
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