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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read various recommendations as to the stocking of otocinclus in heavily planted tanks. I have a 125 gallon high-light tank with CO2. How many otocinclus would you-all recommend for such a tank?

And should I add some SAE for good measure? If so, how many?

Finally, could you recommend good sources for these fish? I hear many issues with shipping these creatures.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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SAE do not eat much algae once they're fully grown. Mine pretty much hogs all the food and is aggressive towards the other fishes. I almost gave mine away but couldn't at the last moment because of sentimental value. My friend calls him my "First Born" since he was my first fish since starting the hobby. I'm pretty sure you can easily put in a large amount of otos (15 or more?). I feed my otos algae wafers and blanch veggies (i.e. cucumbers/zuccini).
 

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From what I have heard from others, SAEs don't really eat that much algae, so I would forget about them if you want a fish that eats algae.

As for stocking otos, you can easily house 1-2 per 10 gallons of water; so you could have 15-30, although I would shoot for closer to 15 or so if I were you. This way you can avoid starving them if there isn't enough food. Also, when you get them, be sure to acclimate them slowly to your tank water.
 

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Ottos stay small and they school in larger numbers. 10-15 sounds quite appropriate for your tank.

However, ottos are known to be finicky and many people have had little success keeping them alive. My best guess is that people assume that the ottos have enough food (algae) to sustain them..and this usually isn't the case...they can be pretty effective.

I would make sure that you have algae wafers and blanched food at hand when you first get them...better to over do it than the opposite. In fact, once I got my 5 for my 20G, I started dosing more ferts to promote just a bit more green algae growth for them - seems to have worked. When I first got the ottos, my entire tank was free of Green Spotted Algae (after months of scraping the stuff off). Once I overdosed, it reappeared again in smaller numbers and the ottos love it.
 

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I like at least a dozen in my 150>100 and now 180 gallon tank. Maybe a rule of thumb could be 3-5 minimum and add another for every 10 gallons over 50?

Get big ones with fat bellies. Offer zucchini, cucumber and algae wafers but leave them in the tank for a day before deciding they won't eat it. They don't eat the veggies so much as they eat what grows on the veggies. Don't put them in a newly set up tank, wait until you can feel a slimy bio film over all the tank's surfaces as that is what they eat and the more plants in there the more surface for oto food to grow.

SAE go overboard. Bristle nose plecos stay in the tank. I don't know which one is a better algae eater but BNP do keep wood clean.
 

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I have a 45 gallon with medium to high light and no CO2 (will be getting soon). You're tank would probably make less algae than mine since you have the co2 injection. But I have three in there and they keep the tank pretty in check. They will eat the green algae off the plants and of course that ugly brown algae new tanks tend to get. I notice they eat algae off the glass at night, but not as much during the day. I'd think about 10 or so would keep ur tank in check. Better to understock and increase as you need them.

My otos never seem to need any alternative food, they're is always just enough algae around for them. I do leave zucchini in there for them over night, but I can't say if they eat it or not.

People do complain about them being "fragile". I see either one or the other...some say they are horrible and cant even keep one of them alive, and others say they are completely fine. They've been completely fine for me. Again, I'd start with 10 and see where it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of the replies!

I see from the various responses that I need to give more details about this tank.

First, I misspoke about the size...its a 150.

Second, the tank has been set up for about 5 years. The substrate is a mixture of peat moss, cactus mulch, and sand which I haven't changed at all.

The water is pure RO that I reconstitute with salt mix to a 100-110 ppm level.

The lighting is direct sunlight for most of the day, with dappled sunlight because of a large tree during noontime.

I use CO2 injection via a converted calcium reactor and a pH controller. The pH is between 6.2 and 6.4. I check the controller probe monthly. Oh, and the probe is in the tank, not the CO2 reactor.

I already have about 20 otocinclus because that is all the LFS had. I had seen one response that recommended 1 oto per 5 gallons (and another elsewhere on the internet that recommended 1/gallon!). I didn't intend to follow THAT recommendation! 150 of just about ANYTHING seemed too much.

The otos seem to be doing very well, and as far as I can tell, I haven't lost any. It is difficult to tell because they cruise in a school much of the time. I feed lots of greens, besides quite a bit of algae in the tank, because there are a number of Pelvicachromis pulcher that I feed lots of greens, mostly spinach and spirulina algae. I feed a variety of food because there are also cardinal and Congo tetras, including cichlid flakes, live daphnia and live mosquito larvae. There were large number of guppies in the tank, but most now reside at the LFS.

I fertilize using the EI method, which seems to be working just fine so far. I mix the various chemicals dry which I store in a tupperware container and dose daily.

Thanks for the heads up about the SAE. I will avoid them.

Thank you all for the responses!

Mike
 

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I had 22 in my 125 it was fun to watch them school and they did pretty good eating algae for their small numbers in that big tank.
 

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Ottos stay small and they school in larger numbers. 10-15 sounds quite appropriate for your tank.

However, ottos are known to be finicky and many people have had little success keeping them alive. My best guess is that people assume that the ottos have enough food (algae) to sustain them..and this usually isn't the case...they can be pretty effective.

I would make sure that you have algae wafers and blanched food at hand when you first get them...better to over do it than the opposite. In fact, once I got my 5 for my 20G, I started dosing more ferts to promote just a bit more green algae growth for them - seems to have worked. When I first got the ottos, my entire tank was free of Green Spotted Algae (after months of scraping the stuff off). Once I overdosed, it reappeared again in smaller numbers and the ottos love it.

Same here. At first, I have little luck with them. Hard to say why. My tank was only a month old. I have all sorts of algae in the tank. For some reason, only 2 survived out of 5 within 2 weeks. Then, I gave it another try and got 3 more. Now, they are doing great. I can't say how. However, I specifically do not clean the right and left sides of my tank. I just let the sides to grow more or less green hair algae on them. I even allow some of the faster growing stem plants to reach to the surface to grow more green algae on them. So far so good. I also have plenty of Cabambos (some of them still have diatom algae on them).

For the OP, just add maybe 5 to 6 to see how they do in the tank. Maybe adding more later.
 

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amano shrimps are the best IME for filamentous algae control. Otos do good job with algae on glass or wood (they even skim the surface of the water if there is a film). 1/10 gal of each should be sufficient. If there is more than usual algae problem, there is probably something else (light, co2, filtratin etc.) that needs to be fixed first.
 

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Amanos may be the best, I have a nice colony of 5 in my 20G.

However, in a 150G tank - that's huge, the Amano's are not going to get to every nook unless you have tens of shrimp.

The best approach is a combination of shrimp and algae eating fish. Plus ottos look amazing and when they school, they look even more amazing. They aren't simply just a tool you have to endure.

Regardless of the make up (unless this is a saltwater tank lol) I'd recommend ottos. Get some Amano Shrimp for sure too!
 

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Amanos may be the best, I have a nice colony of 5 in my 20G.

However, in a 150G tank - that's huge, the Amano's are not going to get to every nook unless you have tens of shrimp.

The best approach is a combination of shrimp and algae eating fish. Plus ottos look amazing and when they school, they look even more amazing. They aren't simply just a tool you have to endure.

Regardless of the make up (unless this is a saltwater tank lol) I'd recommend ottos. Get some Amano Shrimp for sure too!

That would be a lot of shrimps for a 125g. :)
 

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i keep 400 amanos in a 75g, just saying, LOL


I have good luck with otos. I have my opinions which I have posted all over. Otos do poorly becasue they are not fed appropriately upon import. If you get them and their body condition looks good, they do well. Your tank sounds great for them as its been running for 5 years and is well seasoned. They should thrive from the biofilm produced, in addition to the algae.

Supplementing them is always a good idea. I think you would find wiht bigger numbers, their visibility and behaviors become MUCH more interesting and they are less of a background fish. I bring them in in groups of 1000. I have never seen such a neat display of schooling.

That being said, 1 per 5-10g is a good long term ratio.
 

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In my opinion, when I've seen them in large numbers in large tanks, ottos school better than any other fish I have seen.

Also, their shape and the way they swim adds an awesome effect to the schooling behavior.
 

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I know! Just wait till petsmart has another $0.99 per Otto sale! That's what I did.
 

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I've never had any luck buying them from Petsmart. If I had to guess I'd say I've bought at least 50 of them in 3 years and know for sure I have only one left. I'm not a professional fish killer, just an oto killer. BTW, I've given up trying.
 
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