So what exactly is an Oto? Eating algae in itself would be enough recommendation for many tank owners but these freshwater fish are also fun to watch, stay small, are affordable and very cute. On the other hand, they are quite unique in that they are really the only algae eating fish available that will stay small-tank sized and stick with an algae diet into adulthood. Chinese Algae Eaters are worth avoiding because of their highly territorial behaviour.
There are 20 species of Otocinclus, but they share many things in common. They are small sucker-mouthed catfish. Even as adults the largest Otos come in at around only 2 inches long. Their shape is streamlined and some say they resemble a little shark. Otocinclus Vittatus Source. In the pet store trade the different species are often not recognised or correctly identified.
The key to telling some of the more similar varieties apart is the detail of tail markings. Otocinclus Cocama Source. To be honest Golden Otos are not very golden, and Dwarf Otos are not very much smaller than other Otocinclus!
The one species that is really a bit special is the Zebra Otocinclus which sports smart, vertical stripes. Expect to pay a premium for these guys. In the wild Otocinclus swim in big shoals, often of more than a thousand fish, mingling with Corydoras. They spend their time, cruising the fast flowing shallows of streams and small rivers. They are South Americanfrom Colombia in the north to Argentina in the south. They spend their time grazing on aufwuchs.
Aufwuchs is the German name for the slimy coating which grows on the leaves of aquatic plants. Aufwuchs is composed mainly of diatom algae but also includes animals such as rotifers, mini crustaceans and protozoa.
In their natural habitat, otocinclus catfish are reported to be found feeding from the surface of finely leaved aquatic plants or submerged grasses but also roots and other submerged wood. They like to keep to shallow water because the high light levels there promote more algae and in all probability there are fewer large predatory fish to bother them. Otocinclus Macrospilus Source. Many Otocinclus owners speak of them affectionately. They seem to have more personality than a lot of small fish.Order : Siluriformes Family : Loricariidae.
Endemic to parts of the Upper Amazon in Peru. Inhabits dense patches of marginal vegetation in streams, creeks and river. Ideally keep it in a heavily planted setup with broad-leaved plants, driftwood branches and, if you wish vertical rock surfaces.
It feeds primarily on algae and other microrganisms in nature. In captivity the bulk of the diet should be composed of vegetable matter in both fresh courgette and cucumber slices, blanched spinach etc.
Very shy and retiring, to the point that it will be out-competed for food by more vigorous species. Like others in the genusit prefers the company of conspecifics and you should aim for a group of at least 6.
Most easily sexed by looking at the fish from above. When viewed like this, mature females appear broader in the body. Has been achieved, but unfortunately very few details are available. Unlike in cories the eggs are scattered randomly around the tankusually among plants in the upper areas, or on the tank glass. Various factors appear to be involved in triggering a spawn.
Large weekly water changes with cool water seem to be important. The fry are very tiny and will require access to copious amounts of algae and other greenstuffs.
Unfortunately it can be quite delicate when first imported, and losses are not uncommon. As almost all otos are wild caught, they can be quite sensitive to water quality, too. Many hobbyists report fewer problems if the fish are added to matureplanted tanks, where water quality is stable and there is a plentiful supply of microorganisms and algae for the otos to feed on.
Once the fish are past the initial stage and are feeding well, maintenance becomes much easier. You may observe otos suddenly dart to the surface for a gulp of air, very similar to the catfish in the Callichthyidae corys, etc family. Otos possess a modification of the esophageal wall that may function in aerial respiration and assist in providing additional buoyancy that aids these fish in remaining close to the water surface in their habitats Schaefer, Isbrucker et.
The similarity between O. Otocinclus is a basal member of the tribe Hypoptopomatini and is believed to be monophyletic Schaefer, The species of Otocinclus are widely distributed in cis-Andean South America, from northern Venezuela to northern Argentina, usually inhabiting small to medium sized water bodies, often associated with marginal vegetation Reis, The genus Otocinclus was erected by Cope in InScott A.
Schaefer revised the genus, recognizing only 13 of the then 65 species; the others he re-assigned to various genera. Since then, new species have been described as Otocinclusbringing the genus total to 18 valid species at the time of writing Eschmeyer, The phylogenetic biogeography of Otocinclus led Schaefer to suggest that much of the generic and species-level diversification of the Otocinclus and perhaps other loricariid catfishes occurred prior to the formation of the Amazon basin.
The phylogenetic relationships among the fish in the subfamily Hypoptopomatinae are currently under study, and the genus Otocinclus may eventually be relocated Lehmann, In my opinion the smallest aquarium to be considered as safe for otocinclus spiecies should be at least 45 cm long, due to their sporadic energetic outbrusts. Although i can imagine having a group of 6 in 30x20x20 if the aquarium is equipped with powerful filtration creating a strong current.
In my experience the 50x40x35cm aquarium was sometimes barely enough to keep the entusiastic breeding group. This profile, like many on the site, is still in need of a full edit. Perhaps also point out they are more difficult to bred than many corys despite their frequent shop presence and thus why they are still predominantly wild caught — albeit on a more ethical, sustainable level nowadays like many similar situated Amazon fish.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Seriously Fish. It is advised to find a filter which has a water flow between times the volume of your aquarium.
At a volume of 41 litres, the filter we recommend can be found here.The Otocinclus Catfish is a great addition to a peaceful planted tank and a small school of them can form a great algae cleanup crew. These catfish like to hang out under and on aquarium plant leaves as well as sucking on the tank glass. However, they can be a little reclusive at times and providing places to hide will help make them feel secure.
Because they can be quite shy it's a good idea to avoid keeping them with overly aggressive tank mates or other fish large enough to eat them. Otocinclus arnoldi. Otocinclus cocama. There are about 22 species of Otocinclus with some of the more commonly kept pictured in this article. Scientific names are below the images. Otto cats are primarily herbivores so you will need to supplement their diet with algae wafers if you think they may not be getting enough algae to eat.
Some hobbyists have difficulty in keeping them and it may stem from the tank not having enough algae present for grazing, improper acclimation, lack of hiding places, high nitrates and low oxygen levels. Stay on top of your water changes to prevent nitrates from getting out of hand and provide plenty of surface agitation air stones or power heads for gas exchange. For even better results, add your new catfish to an established tank that has already completed the aquarium nitrogen cycle.
Otocinclus hoppei. Otocinclus macrospilus. Ideally, you should quarantine your fish before introducing them to your main tank so that you can monitor them for disease and also provide them with optimal water conditions and no competition from other tank mates for fish food. They may be stressed from transport when you buy them from your pet shop and quarantining them will help settle them down. This means that they dislike changes, a lot!
Changes in temperature, water parameters, transport, etc. When you've just got them from the shop, there are several critical stages. The first 24 hours are critical, then the first week, then the first month.
If you still have them live and kicking after a month, then there's a good chance that the'll live to a ripe old oto age. It's super important when you first get them that you drip acclimate them.Otocinclus is a genus of catfish in the family Loricariidae native to South America which are commonly called "dwarf suckers" or "otos". This genus, like other loricariids is characterized by rows of armour plating covering the body, as well as the underslung suckermouth. They are generally small in size; O.
A duct forms at the junction between the esophagus and the stomach and expands into an enlarged, ring-like diverticulumdiagnostic of this genus, which allows air-breathing. They are often purchased as algae eaters. It is difficult to breed them in captivity, and only wild caught Otocinclus are available to hobbyists. This genus is widely distributed east of the Andes of South Americathroughout the lowlands from northern Venezuela to northern Argentinabut are generally absent from the Amazon and the Orinoco lowlands.
The Otocinclus name is derived from the Greek otomeaning ear and the Latin cinclusmeaning a latticeworkan allusion to the holes in the head in the region of the ear. Otocinclus is the most basal genus of the tribe Hypoptopomatini of the subfamily Hypoptopomatinae.
However, phylogenetic relationships are currently under study and this genus may eventually be relocated. Species of this genus are diurnal and generally are found in small streams or along the margins of larger rivers, clinging to substrates using the mouth as a sucker and feeding on algae or aufwuchs on roots, stones, macrophytes and broad-leaved grasses.
They are found near the surface of the water, but are often associated with vegetation or other structures. Prior to surfacing, they will release air through their gills and mouth. Upon returning to the bottom, the fish do not need to pump their buccal cavities, indicating they are absorbing oxygen from the swallowed air.
These Corydoras species have bony plates of armor and strong spines as defenses, making them less palatable; by mimicking these species in size and coloration, Otocinclus spp. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Species of Otocinclus in FishBase. June version.
Fish Identification: Find Species
Copeia, 3 : — Archived at the Wayback Machine Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 14 3 : — Neotropical Ichthyology, 4 4 : — Zootaxa, 3 : Copeia, 4 : CS1 maint: uses authors parameter link. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links CS1 maint: uses authors parameter Articles with 'species' microformats. Namespaces Article Talk.
Otocinclus is a genus of freshwater catfish from the family Loricariidae. There are around 19 species of Otocinclus and they come in all different sizes, patterns and colors. Unusually for South American tropical fish, they are not found in the large Amazon River which runs through the continent. Most fish are added to a tank for their appearance, but Otos have a bonus purpose — they are great at clearing up algae.
If algae is getting out of control in your tank, these fish will work wonders and quickly graze the algae down. If you can keep your tank clean, most species will live for years. This will vary depending on the species and age.
They could easily be eaten by larger fish so they are skittish by nature. You will see them dart across the tank when they get scared. Much of their life is spent at the bottom of the tank and on the surfaces of decorations, plants and aquarium walls. If there is no algae, they will move onto a new surface. A group tends to stick together, grazing the same areas.
What You Need to Know About Keeping Otocinclus Catfish
These catfish are great for small 10 gallon aquariumsbecause adults rarely exceed 2 inches. The smallest species Otocinclus tapirape only grows to be an inch long. The largest species is Otocinclus flexiliswhich reaches 2.
Their body is a simple cylindrical shape which narrows towards the head and caudal fin. On the head is a strong mouth which is used to latch onto surfaces. Those in the family Loricariidae are different to a lot of other catfish groups because of the rows of armor plating across their body.
This helps to protect them from boisterous fish and coarse substrates. They have a limited ability to breathe air. A duct between the esophagus and stomach forms a hollow area which lets them breath.
It can be difficult to sex Otocinclus; females are usually larger and broader. This is more noticeable when looking from above or below. As far as colors and patterns go, one species can look very different to another. Here are a few of the most popular species for home aquariums:.
This species has one of the most widespread distributions across South America, including the Amazon River. The top of their body is a speckled brown, the lower parts are white. A brown stripe runs along their side from the head to the caudal fin.
The rest of the fins are nearly transparent. These are similar fish to Common Otocinclus, and they often get misidentified. The brown colors are less distinctive and can be closer to gold; hence their name. This fish is no different.
Otocinclus Care Guide: Everything You Need To Know About These Catfish
Zebra Otos have vertical black and white stripes span from just behind the head to the caudal fin. Horizontal stripes run along the head. However, there is an easier way to identify it. Though it has the same dark stripe across its body, the caudal fin has a different design. The lateral stripe stops, or becomes pale, before the caudal fin.
The tail itself has a large blotch.I've kept a variety of catfish to help keep my aquariums clean. I enjoy sharing what I've learned with other hobbyists on the web. Otocinclusthe dwarf suckermouth catfish, is a popular genus of algae-eating catfish.
The seventeen species of Otocinclus often called Otos are often kept in hobbyist's aquariums to control algae. Unlike their large cousins, the Plecos, Otos remain small and are not boisterous enough to cause damage to plants. Although they are often purchased solely for algae control, Otos are social and should not be kept in groups of less than three.
They are notably absent from the Guianas. Otos are small—they range in size from Otocinclus are herbivores, feeding mainly on algae. The ideal tank has a lush growth of algae for them to feed on.
Otocinclus Catfish - Otto Cat
Driftwood tends to support a healthy growth of algae for them to consume. Since it's difficult for them to browse the algae all the way down on a rough surface like wood, it's likely that there will always be something to eat on a piece of driftwood. Aquariums often do not support enough algal growth to feed a school of Otos, so it may be necessary to supplement their diet with blanched spinach or zucchini. Food that has been dipped in boiling water or microwaved for a minute or two appears to be more attractive to Otos.
An algae clip or a rock can be used to hold the material in place. Sinking algae wavers are also a good way to get some more protein into their diet; however, since these wavers usually have a significant amount of shrimp, they are also attractive to other fish.
In my main tank, the Otos rarely get at the algae wavers—the more boisterous Corydoras catfish keep the Otos from trying to get at the food.
Most Otocinclus are wild-caught. Since they are vegetarian and need to eat almost constantly, mortality rates are high in transit. They may be starving by the time they get to the pet store, where they are often fed unsuitable food.
Combine this with the added stress of a trip home from the pet store, and you end up with a fish that has a reputation for dying easily.
To minimise the risk, try not to buy fish until a few days after they arrive at your local pet store. Pick the healthy fish—the ones that are swimming around, looking for food on the gravel and glass, and schooling with the other Otos in the tank. Pick ones with rounded, not sunken bellies.
Choose carefully. Gary MacDonald see "resources" section below recommends that you bring a "snack" for the trip home. A piece of skinned cucumber or zucchini would make a good choice.Dr Michael Hardman takes a look at Ottos - popular, fascinating but sadly often undervalued suckermouth catfish, that are actually great little algae eaters. Whether you call them cascudinhos, ohrgitterwelse, ottos, dwarf suckermouths, algae scrapers or goblin plecs, catfishes of the genus Otocinclus are known the world over.
Most never reach more than an inch or two long cm and they retail for just a few pounds each. They have delicate mouths and an appetite for soft algae, so are most often installed as mere cleaner teams in planted aquaria. I hope not, because we all know that good things come in small packages…. Otocinclus are found mainly in small to medium-sized streams with moderate flow.
They are typically caught among marginal vegetation, especially in grasses and aquatic plants with lots of small leaves. They occur from Colombia to northern Argentina and have only been collected east of the Andes. Some species have restricted ranges in Peru, Brazil and Paraguay, while others occur throughout the headwater tributaries of the Amazon and Orinoco basins.
Their skeletons have ridges, flanges and shelves that tell us they have all descended from a common ancestor. Otocinclus also have an air-filled sac that balloons off their oesophagus and helps them ride high in the water column — most armoured catfishes sink because they are so bony — hear better and it can also be a primitive lung when oxygen levels are low. We know of 17 species of Otocinclus, or 16 if, according to some ichthyologists, O.
Telling them apart is difficult in the aquarium, but you can get some idea by looking at the eye and tail, as eyes in Otocinclus come with and without an iris diverticulum.
This is a small flap that expands or contracts to regulate the amount of light let through the iris and what gives most suckermouth plecs their crescent-shaped eyes.
Tail patterns are also helpful when telling Otocinclus apart. Two species from Peru and Colombia O. The Zebra otocinclus pictured above is the most beautiful and most expensive, but its care and behaviour is nevertheless typical. At one time or another, most Otocinclus have been imported for the trade, but two species dominate the flow and are most commonly available at your shop.
In the s and s, two southern species O. These can easily be identified on the basis of both having iris flaps and O. Although most Otocinclus are sold or mis-identified as O.
Regardless of species, all Otocinclus need the same care. This is one reason why they thrive in planted aquaria with low stocking densities and immaculate water quality. Aim for no measurable ammonia or nitrite and low to no 0—20 ppm nitrate. Otocinclus naturally occur in large shoals and are quite sociable, so if you want to try them go for at least six — or more if you have the space and algal growth. Healthy fish will be very active during the day and diligently crop soft algae, diatoms and aufwuchs from any submerged surfaces in your aquarium.
Provide some pre-soaked branches or bogwood, rounded stones and vigorous aquatic plants. Their small teeth are not really capable of breaking through tough plant tissues, so if they exhaust their supply of fresh algae they will need to be fed on something else.