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Mine spend most of their time eating biofilm off driftwood. I’ve offered sinking algae pellets like the LFS suggested, but they won’t touch them. Hopefully, that means they have more than enough algae and biofilm to eat. So far, I’ve had them a week and they seem to be doing great. I have a heavily planted nano with a couple large pieces of driftwood. I let the tank establish some biofilm before I added them.


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I would recommend you get at least two more first, also find out if you purchased wild caught or captive bred otos. Then you will know if they will accept prepared foods or not. Hopefully they are captive bred, and you can feed sinking algae wafers or fresh blanched veggies as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They are captive bred. They were the only two in the tank at the store, and I`m not looking for more.
I had biofilm in my tank, which is why I got them. They ate a bit of an algae wafer, but not all of it.
 

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I feed my otos prepared food every three days so ensure the tank is somewhat algae free (I use that very loosely because they are OK effective). The otos I have readily eat shrimp pellet, algae wafers, zucchini (blanched). I take a shrimp pellet, cut it in half, and that will preoccupy them for 1/2 the day. Zucchini slices take a bit longer, I usually leave it in the tank for multiple days before they come around. Other than that, they are pretty much grazers looking for algae / biofilm.
 

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I occasionally feed mine zucchini, and in warmer months blanched dandelion leaves. They go nuts over the dandelion, as do the shrimp!
 

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As has been mentioned before, they really prefer biofilm and algae. So if you have a well established planted tank, they won't be as hungry for pellets and vegetables. I have ottos in both my 55 gallon tanks but theres only 2 or 3 in each of those. They hardly get exicted over anything I put in there because they have little to no competition for the algae. In my 75 I have a boatload of shrimp and 7 ottos. They are always hungry...
 

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...and I`m not looking for more.
You should be looking for more. They are a highly social fish, that lives in schools of 10s of thousands. Keeping only a couple will result in shy, skittish fish that don't eat well or come out of hiding. They should be in constant movement around the tank, scouring all surfaces for food.
 

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I got four Ottos two weeks ago and there's only one left. I've never had success with them. Somebody at the LFS told me to put some pebbles in a bowl and to set the bowl out in the sun to grow algae. I Googled them today and it said they have to have very clean water with no trace of Ammonia. I think that's what did it. I have 0.05 Ammonia now because my filter isn't working. 0.05 Total Ammonia Nitrogen isn't unsafe for most fish. At my 6.8 pH and 78 F temperature that's only 0.00018 ppm NH3. It's not good enough for an Otocinclus though. The other thing I found was that they like water between 6 and 12 dH. My water is 4 dH. So maybe that's what did it. I'm going to learn how to take care of them because I really like having them around. I'll get some more when I get the filter working. I think I'll raise the GH to see if that helps. This last guy is really active. But so were the others and now they're gone.
 

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One thing to remember about otos... when you buy them from the LFS they are most likely wild caught.
  • This means a lot of things.
  • Their method of capture may have been shady (chemicals to stun them)
  • They could have something wrong with their gut, too long in transit without algae or biofilm for food. So they are eating now but not processing the food.
  • They've gone though about 4 different water parameter changes before they even got to your tank.
The odds are against these little guys from the day they are captured.

I have bough three batches since last year, each time getting 7 or 8 at a time. Only one batch had good results. Unless you are getting them from a place that has had them in their tank for 2 week or so, it's hard to tell how they will fare when you get them home.

TLDR... your water parameters could be ideal, but they may die anyway :(
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You should be looking for more. They are a highly social fish, that lives in schools of 10s of thousands. Keeping only a couple will result in shy, skittish fish that don't eat well or come out of hiding. They should be in constant movement around the tank, scouring all surfaces for food.
I have two very happy fish who are eating the biofilm and algae in my tank, and I would appreciate it if you would please stop trying to tell me what to do. Sorry.
 

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I have a single oto that I couldn't catch to rehome who is very shy but very healthy. I'm going to just repeat what I was told by a pro catfish keeper/ breeder- otos need circulation to survive. They need an area of moderate circulation and an area of stagnation to thrive. As for food, I've found most won't take algae wafers- going with a gel like soilent green works well for the people I know that have to actively feed their otos. Mine has been surviving on the ample biofilm and deadened algae from spot treatments.
It is not ideal to have just 2, but it isn't necessarily going to harm them, just don't really expect to see them very often at all and if your desired effect is glass cleaning you're going to be out of luck. If you want them to clean your plants and eat dead plant matter you've got a good little crew there.
You could throw some Indian almond or dried oak leaves in there- as they break down they will grow aufwuchs which is otos favorite food.
 

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The reason that you need more than 2 is because as they get older they'll tend to cannibalize each other unless you provide new otocinclus for them to eat. I recommend buying at least 6 more otos for your original 2 otos to predate on. You'll see far more hunting activity (as evidenced by the swimming) from the fish.

The above joke aside: you don't know if your fish are happy. You can tell if they're stressed. You can tell if they're in the mood to spawn. You can even tell if they're eating well. But you cannot tell if your fish are happy. And unless I'm missing some context, JPP was giving some quality advice that you should be listening to. Really it's quite confusing that you say they're "happily eating biofilm and algae" in the tank, but in your OP you say that you need advice on what to feed them and how often to do so.

As for foods: I feed mine dried guava leaves, indian almond leaves, various pieces of hardscape, and for 9 otos + 8 amano shrimp + 10 pygmy corydoras, I feed one very small cube of Repashy soilent green, and one very small cube of Repashy Spawn & Grow. The cubes are made by pouring the gel mix into small silicon ice cube trays, the ones used for mini cubes.
 

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Really? I thought it was hilarious, especially given the incredibly heavy sarcasm that was laid into it.

You only found what to feed them after coming to this forum and asking for help with multiple other members giving you advice. Keep that in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for the help trying not to lose my cool ive been worrying about my tank since half the plants died and i have an ammonia spike too :(
 

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More importantly: do a water change. Those fix like half your problems. As for dead plants: remove the rotting ones, but not the live ones. If they're new, then they're still establishing their root systems and doing their best. If not, then still do a water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, so i removed all the dead plants and put in some more hardy ones that are not easily killed. This morning I did a 20% water change as well.
 
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