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Shrimp Attacking Oto's

5539 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  SearunSimpson
I have recently noticed my ghost shrimp attacking my Otocinclus. Has anyone else experienced something similar? I first noticed when I added 3 new Oto's and saw my ghost shrimp go straight to it, grab it, and started nibbling away at its tail. By the time I got to it (approx 15 sec) most of the Oto's tail had been eaten.

I only added the ghost shrimp to help with scavenging food and to keep algae at a minimum, but now I am considering on flushing all of them.
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I think you may be misinterpreting what you see. The otto can more than escape the shrimp if it is so inclined.

If you put your hand into a tank full of ghosts they will actually give you a "manicure" and trim away any dead skin. If the otto stood for this type of treatment from the shrimp without trying to get away it is likely it had some diseased tissue on its tail already, like fin rot or just damage from transport. Often new fish from your LFS will have problems like this due to the stress they are under.

I wouldn't worry about it unless you see the otto fleeing the shrimp and they can't manage to get away. An otto that can't escape a ghost shrimp is probably doomed anyway.
Unless that ghost shrimp is a Macrobachium sp., which sometimes they are.
You're oto, in my experience, is as good as dead. You know you have a dead oto when your shrimp go to it.

Otocinclus are all caught in the wild. I've never heard of captively bred otos. When being caught in the wild, the stream they live in is injected with some chemical that slows the otos down. You know fast these guys are. REALLY fast. Then they go through shipping and abuse. Then finally they arrive in the LFS where they are usually fed flake foods. The otos don't eat flake foods. They eat algae, so an algae wafer would be tons better.

So when you get to the LFS, most of them are half dead, starved, and you always need to buy more than 2 because at least one will always die.

IME, sick fish are dead to the shrimp.
I don't know, that sounds like it could be a macrobrachium. Did the oto struggle when the shrimp grabbed it? If the oto was still and the shrimp ate its tail, you probably have a dying oto. If it was quite livid, then you probably have a macrobrachium.
Also, I've never had an oto die. There are captive bred otos, but they are very rare. I actually don't think it is very hard to catch otos, they don't move until the net is actually on them.
A lot of this Internet forum stuff is like playing the game of telephone. I have a half dozen Otto's living in captivity and they ALL eat flake. Don't believe everything you read- and more importantly- don't pass it on as fact. Its not always true.

Macrobachium might try to attack an otto, if it were full grown and big enough to overpower it- but thats a big shrimp- not one easily mistaken for a ghost. Even it if were Macrobachium, it would likely be a juvie and not strong enough to tackle an otto. In addition, they don't show up in LFS feeder ghost tanks for 22 cents a piece.
I did a search on google and the shrimp does look a lot like Macrobachium sp. The shrimp is actually the same size, if not bigger than the Oto. However, they oto did not seem to really struggle, almost like it did not notice the shrimp at all. But the shrimp did grasp it while eating its tail. By the time I got my hand in the tank the Oto was scared off, but the shrimp remained.
I also noticed that several of my other Oto's are missing there tail too. I am thinking that I should flush the shrimp.
Nah, you bought them, may as well use them for food. Just drop it into a tank of hungrier bigger fish, or squish them in your hand and "chum" out the insides into the water for the other fish to nibble at (as if you were crushing a muscle on the side of a pier to feed to the little Pile Perch under it).
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