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Otos

Otos
(Otocinclus vittatus)

This little fish of the Loricariidae family is as useful as it is charming! It is often presented first as a seaweed eater, which is perfectly true, but do not stop just at this aspect of its personality! Otocinclus have many qualities that will seduce you!

The conscientious aquarist will fulfil the specific needs of this species, and will not take it just to get rid of the algae.

Scientific name

Otocinclus vittatus

Common name

Otos
Otocinclus Catfish
Dwarf Sucker

Origin

what are its countries of origin?

Origin: South America
Biotope: Amazonian

Dimorphism

what are the physical differences between males and females?

The female is larger and wider than the male (watch them from above)

Group

Group

Loricariidae

Volume

what is the minimum volume for this species?

100 L / 22 imp gal / 26 US gal

Water parameters

what is the minimum volume for this species?

T°: 21 to 26°C or 70 to 79°F
pH: 5.5 to 7.5
Hardness: 8 to 10°dGH

Difficulty

difficulty

Easy

Size

what is the maximum size of this fish?

3 to 4 cm (1.2 to 1.6")

Life expectancy

what is the average life expectancy of this fish?

10 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?

Depth

Individuals

sociability of the species

6

Food

How to feed the Otos?

Food

How to feed the Otos?

The Otocinclus is omnivorous with a strong vegetal tendency. Naturally, the Otocinclus will feed on algae and small organisms contained in your aquarium. Or more precisely, it will mostly feed on the biofilm that is deposited on the decoration and leaves.

However, it is essential to feed it properly. Especially since it is relatively easy to satisfy: Spirulina pellets are perfect! You can supplement with fresh vegetable food, such as sliced zucchini or cucumber or poached lettuce.

Finally, do not let it eat too much meat because it reduces its ability to eat algae and can cause intestinal obstruction.

Behavior

What kind of behavior does the Otos have?

Behavior

What kind of behavior does the Otos have?

It is a tireless seaweed grazer! It does not touch plants (unless they are damaged). Thus, it will be a good maintenance companion for densely planted aquariums (be careful, this does not mean that it should be adopted for this reason, it also needs your full attention!). However, it seems to eat only nascent algae, so it is unable to completely eradicate the algae from an already invaded aquarium.

The Otocinclus is mainly nocturnal. It stays hidden during the day so that it does not turn on until the evening (feed it just before the lighting goes out).

Even if they like the presence of their congeners, the Otocinclus only gather occasionally: to sleep, to eat, to share a hiding place or in case of stress). Most of the time, they will scatter all over the aquarium if they feel safe.

It's a shy little fish, peaceful and friendly.

Cohabitation

Who can live with the Otos?

Cohabitation

Who can live with the Otos?

The Otos ignore the other occupants of the aquarium. This makes them good roommates for a lot of cash!

The only cohabitation restrictions (except water parameters of course) are due to the shy nature of our Otocinclus. Thus, species too bright, too big or too aggressive that could scare and stress continually are imperative to avoid. We will avoid Ancistrus or Plecos for example. Cohabitation with Corydoras is possible but it will be necessary to ensure that your Otocinclus have access to food because Corydoras are faster than them in this area.

You can pair them with shrimp and snails without any worries.

Breeding

How to breed the Otos?

Breeding

How to breed the Otos?

Almost impossible in aquarium. However, the following water parameters can be noted: temperature at 23°C or 73°F, pH at 6.5 and GH at 2 to 9°dGH. Choose 3 males and 2 females. Spawning is triggered by slightly cooler water changes than the tank (2°C). The duo mates by taking the position called "T". Laying includes between 40 and 50 eggs that hatch within 2 to 4 days. The eggs measure 1 mm and are usually fixed on the glass or on the plants.

Fry food: Spirulina or plankton.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Otos?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Otos?

Even though it is a small fish, the Otocinclus needs space to satisfy its algae grazing instinct. It will therefore be necessary to count at least 100 liters (22 imp gal / 26 US gal) for a small troop of 6 individuals. It is not suitable for nano aquariums at all!

Living at the bottom of the aquarium, it will often move on the floor of the aquarium. It is therefore imperative that it is not sharp not to hurt your fish.

On the plantation side, the Otocinclus likes large-leafed plants which they can graze on the surface at their leisure. Echinos plants are particularly popular. In general, plant your aquarium densely and also introduce a peat bog root.

For lighting, opt for a fairly low brightness, or sift your tray with floating plants.

If your aquarium is new, wait at least 3 months before introducing Otocinclus so that there is enough seaweed to feed them properly.

Good to know

Good to know

Find all additional information!

Although this fish is just a little more than bigger than 4 cm or 1.5 inches, it is the largest of its kind!

Watch out for the temperature rise of the aquarium in summer. Indeed, Otocincluses do not withstand high temperatures.

It is a fish quite sensitive to the quality of its water (nitrites and phosphates) and to medicinal treatments. In addition, it is necessary to make a very careful and very gradual acclimatization because the Otocinclus are quite fragile. If this operation is sloppy, you will inevitably have dead fish the following month. Be careful also to their small beard at the end of the nose (quite fragile) when handling with the landing net.

An Otocinclus in good health is always "big", it has a belly bounced! If it has a hungry stomach, this may be a sign that it has trouble feeding itself properly.

Alternative species

Alternative species

Discover the similar species

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