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Otocinclus - Tricky Beasts

Author Topic: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts  (Read 1390 times)

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Offline Matt

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Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:27:40 AM »
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Well I woke up this morning to find a dead Otocinclus  :(

It had managed to get itself stuck in one of those black plastic plant pot/basket things which I had fixed to the side of the tank to grow some plant cuttings in.

So I basically feel like a right idiot this morning  :vcross:

Just thought I a) ought to share this so others can avoid this issue, and b) perhaps start a bit of a discuss about people's experiences with these fish.

So, keeping positive, on to part b!

I normally keep 2/3 of these fish in my 64litre. But have always struggled to keep them alive for more than about a year.
I read that they are shoaling fish so I'm not sure if this would be considered sufficient numbers but I worry about them starving when I'm away and cannot add algae wafers.
I find they can become quite reclusive even nocturnal.

What are other experiences?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 06:36:46 PM »
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Sorry to hear that your oto got stuck in a pot. Unfortunately you can't really foresee these sorts of incidents, they are unexpected.
Thanks for sharing this information with us, I hope that it does help others to avoid a similar situation.
I don't have any experience with otocinclus, but am very interested as I plan to get some for my betta tank when it is mature enough. I have heard that they can have quite a high mortality rate when new, but not much else.

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 09:40:09 PM »
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@Matt I have heard that they can be tricky but haven't had problems myself, probably just luck. They need good water conditions but some 'nice' algae in the tank so they do best in an established tank. I read that they arrive wild caught and starved usually and a lot just never recover. I think I have eight in my tank but it's really hard to see them in one go, not nocturnal it would seem, but little ninja's as they flit between resting places. They have two evil spines that protrude at an angle that they use as props when not feeding. It is possible yours manages to get them caught like barbs in the basket while ferreting for food. So I wouldn't necessarily blame yourself - could easily have been a racing incident.

Offline ColinB

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 10:13:55 AM »
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I've got four of the little darlings and they're lovely, interesting fish. I don't often see all four at once, though. My tank's 'very mature' (i.e. a bit of a jungle) and I haven't lost one since getting them in June last year.

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Offline sjames

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 08:06:42 AM »
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Hi, I posted before, I lost one that was so weak when I purchased that it literally couldn't swim away from the outlet filter, and I found it stuck against it. I was gutted and didn't know they could be so starved and weak. I had four, then bought four more from another shop that looked slightly bigger, the seven are now thriving and have grown a fair bit and look great. By the way I never spot them all at once, I need to rely on a teenager who will look for ages!

I put it down to one of those things and although not seeking blame, the initial shop shouldn't have sold them yet, as this was a move too far too quickly.  Racing incident, I like that, but it does hurt.

Offline jaypeecee

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2018, 05:32:37 PM »
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Hi Matt,

Interesting thread. I find them unpredictable. I bought two a few weeks ago that looked well-fed in that they had quite plump bellies. They were added to a mature tank, which had developed a supply of brown algae (diatoms). Having read that Otocinclus would devour this, I had my fingers (and toes) crossed. When adding these fish to the aquarium, I spent well over an hour ensuring that there would be minimal osmotic shock.

Initially, neither fish showed much activity - either during the day or at night. Nor were they interested in the brown algae. After a couple of weeks or so, one died. Fortunately, one is still alive. S/he grazes on the green algae that grows on the glass.

JPC

Offline Matt

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2018, 09:25:55 PM »
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I think the crux of this is that these fish don't travel well. But interesting that you have gone through a long acclamation process by the sounds of things... I personally have switched away from doing this and prefer to pour the fish from the bag into a net and get them straight into the tank. This minimises any exposure to ammonia in the bag and pH swings when the water in the bag is exposed to the air during acclamation (might need someone else to explain the science behind this for me tho...). I have seen fish settling in quicker using this method, which I learnt from the kind of DIYs YouTube channel.

Offline Helen

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2018, 01:17:06 AM »
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@Sue might need to correct my details, but my understanding is that the pH affects the equilibrium between toxic ammonia and non toxic ammonium. The higher the pH the more toxic ammonia there is. When the bag is sealed, the CO2 builds up and reduces the pH. This in turn decreases the toxicity. Open the bag and the pH increases, because the CO2 returns to normal levels and therefore the amount of toxic ammonia increases relative to the non-toxic ammonium.

Offline Sue

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2018, 09:58:23 AM »
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That's basically right  :) I could go into the chemistry but most of you won't want that so Helen's explanation is fine.
The fish in the bag have been breathing out CO2 and excreting ammonia so both build up in the water. As soon as the bag is opened, the water is exposed to air so the CO2 gasses off leaving the ammonia still in the water. This is why responsible mail order sellers add an "ammonia detoxifier" to the water which will keep the ammonia safe for up to 36 hours. By this time the fish should have been delivered and put in your tank. But we can never be certain they have added the detoxifier so with mail order fish in particular it is important to get them out of the bag as soon as they arrive.

A lot of people now use the 'plop and drop' method where the fish are netted out of the bag as soon as you get them home because it actually takes days to acclimatise to different water conditions. Even drip acclimatisation is not long enough. Leaving the bag sealed and floating in the tank to equilibrate temps is OK but once the bag is opened, the fish may as well go straight into the tank.

Offline Helen

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2018, 11:11:00 AM »
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I have previously dropped my Seneye in the bag with new fish, as they were temperature aclimatising. There was a noticeable increase in ammonia vs the tank, but it didn't seem to increase for the hour or so. And didn't get as high as I expected it to.

But the shop I'd bought the fish from ia only 20minutes drive, so they'd not been in the bag very long.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2018, 02:21:29 PM »
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I must admit to having often pondered the real value of lengthy acclimation processes too...  Temperature shock I can imagine isn't great for the more delicate species but I can well believe Sue saying about true acclimation taking far longer than just minutes or hours...  With only ever buying fish from a vendor that has the same water supply, then surely we neatly avoid big changes in water chemistry anyway and that it's the buying of fish over the internet and/or from sources where the water is significantly different to our own that problems would be more likely to occur...? 

Offline Sue

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Re: Otocinclus - Tricky beasts
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2018, 02:53:54 PM »
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If the local shop does plenty water changes so their tank water is more or less the same as your tap water there should be no problems with the fish coping with the transfer. If they don't do regular water changes the water chemistry could be different, though if they value their stock, they should be keeping the tanks nice and clean - and dirty tanks put customers off.
Sellers from another part of the country are quite likely to have very different water from yours. That's when fish will have more trouble acclimatising.

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