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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, just wanted to check and see if anyone else is having issues locally with otocinclus. I picked some up from Petsmart over a year ago when I set up my first tank. I still have one from that batch, and have replaced the others here and there. I'm currently down to one in my 10g and 2 in my 55g. Over the past few weeks they've been extremely hard to come by. I managed to get three from Petsmart a while back (the one in my 10, one of them in the 55 and one died) and they haven't gotten any in the last few weeks. I went to Petco (out of desperation) and they had 1 tiny little one. I felt bad so I brought it home. It seemed to acclimate fine, swam around and ate and frolicked with the others, then after a day and a half there it was stuck to the filter. I called the only reputable LFS to ask if they had any and she told me, very honestly I thought, that they kept ordering them in and having them die off almost entirely after a couple days in quarantine. So they've stopped ordering them for awhile. Anyone else having issues in their area of MI finding otos? I'm hesitant to order them online because I don't want to pay the huge shipping costs unless I know for a fact that they're tank-raised and heartier....
 

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I see them at my local PetsMart maybe once or twice a month. Between the die offs and people buying them I may just not be seeing them but I stop in nearly once a week sometimes more. I myself have one single Otto, the first one I got that has lived and grown fat...I've had probably a dozen since then that last a few days or a week then die. I gave up on exchanging them eventually.

I picked up 2 rubber lip plecos some months ago, they stay small and seem to keep things clean. Between those 3 and snails I generally have no algae on the glass unless BBA is breaking out but I now have a SAE as well. I keep a few nerites in my 40, and then ramshorns, and trumpets (for sand turn over).

If you don't mind snails they are easy on the bio load and only a nuisance if you are over feeding or have a ton of algae.
 

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Yes me too i bought 2 of them and the bigger one survived but the newer one died after the 4th day, a slow death, when i put it in the tank he was oky but then it started swimming weird and then it took very slow to die and my tank their are no diseases and the water parameters are quite fine
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I understand that some pretty dubious methods are sometimes used to capture them, and that otos can be finnicky when adapting to a new home, but I've never had this much trouble just getting ahold of them. I'm curious as to whether this is my particular area or if it's a broader ranged problem....
 

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they are wild caught and maybe there has been trade issues or massive die offs and also Ottos are very sensitive i have gone through 10 Ottos just to get three that live
 

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As I understand it: Otocinclus are often captured using methods that include use of toxins to knock them out ... then they are shipped without food for days on end ... then often end up in store tanks that also have no food. Otos require a special bacteria that lives in their gut to digest algae and biofilm, and that bacteria will die if the fish doesn't eat. Once the bacteria is gone, no amount of food can save the oto from starving to death.

The best thing, of course, is to buy them tank-bred. Unfortunately, I only know of one aquarist who's managed to breed enough for sale, and I think he's been out of the breeding game for a while. Barring that, it's best to buy only than an LFS that knows how to feed and care for otos -- and only buy fish that have been in the store, feeding well and showing a nice round tummies, for at least a week.

Never buy a skinny oto with a concave stomach. No matter how sorry you feel for it, you cannot save an oto that is already at death's door. :(
 

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Not sure where in MI you are HuginMunin, but I picked up 6 Otto's today. The local Petsmart is having a sale on them for a $1 this weekend...not helpful when they haven't had any in weeks. I ended up calling a really great "LFS" about an hour away from from me and was told they had lots...and they did. I'm hopeful spending the $3ea on them here will have better results than I have with the local chains. I know this LFS actually quarantines incoming fish.

Anyway it is Bluefish Aquarium in Grandville, near Grand Rapids. They had probably 20+ little guys. About to put 2 in my nano here at work, 2 in a 20 long at home and the last one in my other sole Otto in my 40. I would have bought a couple more but have to watch the funds LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the notice, I appreciate it. I ended up contacting a couple reputable online vendors and asking after their quarantine/upkeep practices. I've got 10 on order and managed to get out with what I consider a very reasonable shipping rate. I decided that I'd rather pay out for shipping on fish that I know have been alive and eating for a few weeks. I do need to get up to Bluefish sometime though. I've heard great things about them; I'm down by Kalamazoo.
Not sure where in MI you are HuginMunin, but I picked up 6 Otto's today. The local Petsmart is having a sale on them for a $1 this weekend...not helpful when they haven't had any in weeks. I ended up calling a really great "LFS" about an hour away from from me and was told they had lots...and they did. I'm hopeful spending the $3ea on them here will have better results than I have with the local chains. I know this LFS actually quarantines incoming fish.

Anyway it is Bluefish Aquarium in Grandville, near Grand Rapids. They had probably 20+ little guys. About to put 2 in my nano here at work, 2 in a 20 long at home and the last one in my other sole Otto in my 40. I would have bought a couple more but have to watch the funds LOL.
 

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Good deal you found some. Weekends at BF are really busy. I had to wait longer than I wanted to and the girl was apologetic but I really am glad they are getting so much business. Seems like every time I go they have a new fish that I have read about and want to try but have to refrain from because I'm not prepared lol. Lots of plants also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm getting a tank set up right now for peacock gudgeons in the summer; you don't happen to recall seeing any there did you? I suppose I could always call them... :)
 
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