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My first 3 was purchased an over a week ago. One was dead the next 2 days. Bought another 2 last week. As off this morning after a 5% water change and some minor driftwood re-scaping (want to open up the tank more), one just died. The other is about to. I only have 2 left right now. I hate to say this but I am glad I still have my 2 "Chinese" algae eaters to handle my minor brown and green algae outbreaks.

I think my tank has enough brown algae for them to consume. I notice I have some green hair algae on the driftwood and my Amazon swords. Their bellies look round.

Water parameters:
KH 3
GH 3
pH 6 -6.5
No ammonia or nitrates. The tank has been cycled well. Enough bacteria colonized on the bio-wheels (2).
 

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I have had 4 in the one tank for approximately 3 years now and about 3 in the other for about 2 years. My tanks are so heavily planted that sometimes I wont see them for months and just when I am thinking that one of them has died they all appear and swim around together. I think providing lots of hiding spots helps keep them happy and unstressed. Just bought some Zebra Otos and hopefully will have them for quite a long time too. Just need to make sure they are properly acclimated and healthy at the shop you get them at.
 

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I always expect at least half of them to die within the first month. They are super fragile fish, and the way the petstore treats them really doesnt help. Even ones that were fat and happy and fine suddenly just drop dead. Its part of buying them...

Where did you get zebra oto's? I've been searching for them desperately...
 

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Mine are about 1 year and a half old now.
 

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i have some for 5 or so years now. I don't think they are fragile fish, its just that algae eaters in genearl are not fed/handled well upon import. They are not fed properly in stores nor often in people's holding tanks who wholesale. If you are lucky enough to get them from an individual who has been feeding them well, you have much higher survival rates
 

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I still have the 4 I bought a year and a half ago. These are the only ones I have ever owned though. I found young in the tank once, but none made it past my tetras and Apisto.

They seem to be pretty adaptable critters, considering I gave up trying to feed them anything a year or so ago.
 

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They usually last a couple of years for me. I recently (a month ago) added some to a new tank and just as an silly idea picked out the most mangled, mistreated fish I could find at Petsmart. One had all but no tail, all were missing large patches of scales, none were being fed properly (spotless tank filled with the things, only a vacation wafer for regular fish in the tank.) It was a personal response to a thread like this: I wanted to see how long they'd live. A month later, their scales are all back, their tails have regrown completely (except for the one who was missing his, it's back to about 50%.) Fed properly, they can be quite hardy.
 

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Have only had the 4 of mine for two weeks, but are still fine. Constanly find them all over the tank, either sucking algae off the walls, plant leaves, or the gravel. I have them with 15 barbs and they are fine as of present.

Parameters:

Temperature: 76F
PH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 4-5ppm
KH - 6-7
GH - 10-11


I do have a consistant dosing of Iron and Potassium for the plants, along with all the macros. Don't know if that has anything to do with it. Just have to wait and see what happens after a few months, but as of now, they don't seem to be too fragile.
 

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I've killed at least 30 in my 90g in 3 years and finally gave up. One batch of 15 about 2 years ago I put 3 in my 3g and the rest in my 90g. About a week later 1 of the 3 in the little tank jumped out. Still have 2 in there and all those in the 90 are long gone.

The 3g rarely gets fed anything, rarely a water change, no CO2, no ferts, no heater and a really small HOB that hasn't been cleaned in a year. Sometimes the water level gets so low that the HOB starts sucking air. That how little care the tank gets and yet they survive. In the 90 they have the life expectancy of Mayfles. lol
 

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I purchased three of them about a month ago for my 29. So for they are all doing great (knock on wood). When I first got them, I was certain that one wasn't going to make it; he hardly had a tail fin left, wasn't very active, and he would not get a dark coloration (a sign of stress). But to my surprise he is now fully colored, very active, and his tail fin is re-growing nicely.

I think where a lot of people go wrong with these guys is that you should acclimate them very slowly--I did mine for about 2 hours into a 5 gallon bucket. Also be sure they have plenty to eat--sometime just algae and biofilm isn't enough, especially if you have a lot in your tank (which is why I only went for 3 of them). I add a slice of zucchini or squash every couple days--most of the time they don't even touch it, but once in a while they do.
 

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I purchased three of them about a month ago for my 29. So for they are all doing great (knock on wood). When I first got them, I was certain that one wasn't going to make it; he hardly had a tail fin left, wasn't very active, and he would not get a dark coloration (a sign of stress). But to my surprise he is now fully colored, very active, and his tail fin is re-growing nicely.

I think where a lot of people go wrong with these guys is that you should acclimate them very slowly--I did mine for about 2 hours into a 5 gallon bucket. Also be sure they have plenty to eat--sometime just algae and biofilm isn't enough, especially if you have a lot in your tank (which is why I only went for 3 of them). I add a slice of zucchini or squash every couple days--most of the time they don't even touch it, but once in a while they do.
I'm running into the same issue with my ottos. They don't seem to ever take any interest in any food I put in there such as the Zuuchini. I only have 4 in my tank, so the algae load may be enough to continue stimulating them. When you throw Zuuchini in there, do you just leave it and let it decompose if they decide not to touch it? I'm thinking that after a few weeks of leaving small amounts of zuuchini at the bottom every few days, they will eventually warm up to it, but at the same time, I don't want the decomposition to spike my ammonia.
 

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I'm running into the same issue with my ottos. They don't seem to ever take any interest in any food I put in there such as the Zuuchini. I only have 4 in my tank, so the algae load may be enough to continue stimulating them. When you throw Zuuchini in there, do you just leave it and let it decompose if they decide not to touch it? I'm thinking that after a few weeks of leaving small amounts of zuuchini at the bottom every few days, they will eventually warm up to it, but at the same time, I don't want the decomposition to spike my ammonia.
I take it out after two days. Then wait another two days or so then add another. I think it takes them a while to find and figure out a food source. Like I said I've had mine for about a month, and just about a week or so ago they figured out that the driftwood is a good place to find food. Before that they were just foraging on plant leaves and the glass. So I think that adding the zucchini frequently will help them get used to it and associate it as food. So far only one of them has figured out that my zucchini is food, hopefully soon the other two will figure it out.

So long story shot, I believe that otos are slow learners :icon_lol:
 

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I have 3 of them left. While I had some losses early on, my two oldest otos are 8 years old and the other one is 6 years old.
 

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I think you either do good with them or poorly.. just like newly imported cardinals. I have had batches where I could not kill them with a hammer, and I have had others that just croaked within a month.. same tank, same water.. No rhyme or reason for the difference. I do find that spriulina flake from O.N. really seems to fatten these little pigs up. When you have zero algae in your tank I think you need some veggies for them. I also used O.N. Formula two on them (and the corys) and they tore that up as well. They have a long intestine so they are for sure a vegetarian.. if you don't give them any greens they are not going to do well... Or, you could just put a bunch of iron and phosphate in the water, cut off the c02, and feed them all the algae they want when the tank gets over-run with it. :)
 
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