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Being new to planted tanks, I'm trying to figure out a good algae crew. Currently, I have 2 siamese algae eaters, but as I've read more, I've found the bad probably outweighs the good with them, so I want to get rid of them. I would love to have otos, but I've read mixed reviews. Some say they're easy and hardy, others say most will die off. What are these fish really like?
 

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Best algae crew I think involves Nerite snails. I've noticed from keeping Siamese that they eventually begin eating plants or feeding on flake food. Otos are cute and are interesting to watch I feel they aren't all that effective. Nerites though do a great job at eating green dust/spot algae from the glass, rocks or wood. On top of that maintaining water changes and proper water conditions, fertilizing dosing, and co2 are key to keeping algae at bay.
 

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When I started my 75G tank (first tank in many, many years) back in January and I had my first algae outbreak, I went out and got 5 SAE and 12 Japonica Amano Shrimp (snails were out of the question with my clown loaches). The algae went away, truth be told it wasn't really that bad, and two of SAEs, I believe, starved. I bought algae tabs to supplement their diet and the remain three are not big and fat and are already feeding on zucchini and flake food. If I don't feed for day or two, the SAEs will nibble on algae again. I've sinceadded otos to take up the slack and couldn't be happier. They hype is well founded, I just wish they were hardier. I do have two or three that are 5 or 6 months old, the other 7 are new.

I thought about removing mine too, but I like their personality and their antics too much. They play ALL the time and rest in some of the oddest positions.
 

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Hi LCP136,

I find that SAE are good eating 'hair type' algae and BBA; especially after I weaken the BBA with either Excel (Glut) or H2O2. Otocinclus are very hardy, especially if you get some that have been in a LFS tank and eating for a couple of weeks. I find Otos are about the best at eating Brown Algae (Diatoms) and soft flat green algae. Lastly I use Corys to eat the leftover food particles. In a 10 gallon I typically have 2 Corys, 1 SAE, and 1 or two Otos.

 

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Hi LCP136,

Otocinclus are very hardy, especially if you get some that have been in a LFS tank and eating for a couple of weeks. I find Otos are about the best at eating Brown Algae (Diatoms) and soft flat green algae. Lastly I use Corys to eat the leftover food particles. In a 10 gallon I typically have 2 Corys, 1 SAE, and 1 or two Otos.
You are the first person I've ever read that's called Ottos "hardy".... They're hardly hardy (har har) LOL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilnitMs1LRk

Watch how they harvest them. These poor little creatures don't stand a chance. I would pull a number out of my $## and say 80% of them don't live past shipping to the USA. The rest you get to pick from at your local store. Out of the 10 or so I've attempted to acclimate to my tanks, 0 have survived longer than 3 months. Yes drip method, yes ideal parameters, yes zucchini and nori and plenty of dust algae.

But if you *really* want to give them a shot, go for it :icon_neut
 

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I find the effectiveness of otos to be severly overrated. And also they add a large bio load compared to their size. They generate a massive amount of waste.
 

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in my experience i always lose an oto or two. so i buy a few more than planned. the ones that are alive after a month usually live a long time. they will decimate any diatoms in the tank, but they don't eat all types of algae.
Agreed. I generally lose 40% or more in the first month, and any that make it past that have lived for years in my tanks.
 

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The only time I've had luck with them was when I had brown diatoms. They died about a month after the diatoms went away. I've since tried to get more to help with the GBA problems I have, but they would not touch it. They all died about 3 weeks after I got them.
 

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I bring them in in groups of 1000 and usually lose about 3-5 individual fish. I have said this before, but I think a lot of how they do has to do with their handling immediately upon importation into the country. They are fasted after collection, then fasted in transit to stores, the rarely offered foods they are used to (real algae) in stores so are totally weakened by the time they end up in a hobbyist's tank and therefore, fail to thrive and eat well and end up dying.

By culturing tons of algae on rocks and feeding them those within minutes of import, they seem to plump right up and then are easy to transition to supplemental foods.

Only once have I had an order of them come in poorly and not turn around.

They are great fish for eating diatom algae. I find amano shrimp to be the best for hair algae, and nerite snails the best for spot/sheet algaes.

Hope that helps!
 

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I bring them in in groups of 1000 and usually lose about 3-5 individual fish. I have said this before, but I think a lot of how they do has to do with their handling immediately upon importation into the country. They are fasted after collection, then fasted in transit to stores, the rarely offered foods they are used to (real algae) in stores so are totally weakened by the time they end up in a hobbyist's tank and therefore, fail to thrive and eat well and end up dying.

By culturing tons of algae on rocks and feeding them those within minutes of import, they seem to plump right up and then are easy to transition to supplemental foods.

Only once have I had an order of them come in poorly and not turn around.

They are great fish for eating diatom algae. I find amano shrimp to be the best for hair algae, and nerite snails the best for spot/sheet algaes.

Hope that helps!
I couldn't agree more with all of the above. :proud:

www.Otocinclus.com is a really good resource for proper Oto husbandry. Many people don't bother to feed theirs and IMO that's another reason they often don't live long.
 

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Otos have actually been one of the hardier fish I've kept. I have at least 1 in all 5 of my tanks. Over the past 3 years, I've purchased around 12 and still have 10 alive. The kicker? At least 10 of them I've gotten at Petsmart when they've had them on sale for $1.:eek:

As far as my own experiences with their algae-eating effectiveness, they seem great at keeping the glass and plants free of algae. Most of my tanks also contain nerites and amano shrimp, so it's hard to say just who's doing what, but I have only 1 oto in a Fluval Ebi with no other algae eaters and that tank is algae-free, except for a little hair algae on some plants near the water surface.
 

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Hmm - I only bought my first oto a few weeks ago, because I didn't know if I had enough algae for it to eat. I though it would eat all kinds - so you see I'm totally clueless about this fish. Having said that, I had it in a 55 until last night. I bought it for $1 at Petsmart - and I went back to get two more because I had an outbreak of green algae on the side glass & part of the front glass of my 40. Well, they were sold out. So I did what I knew was a bad thing - I scooped up the oto & transferred it to the 55. No water adjustments, no considertion for temps. (however I did test the tanks that day & they were almost identical)
This morning when I woke up 95% of the green algae is gone and the little gut is zipping around! So, I think I'll just keep the one as long as it lives & move it from tank to tank as needed. I'm 99% sure my algae outbreak was due to overfeeding...
 
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