Otocinclus refers to a genus of freshwater catfish that go by many names, together with the Dwarf Suckerfish, Oto Catfish, or just Oto. They’re small and energetic fish that make nice additions to each nano and huge aquariums. These peaceable herbivores primarily feed off algae, making them excellent for aquariums with cussed algae progress.
|As much as 2 inches lengthy
|Chinese language Algae Eater, Cory Catfish, and Pictus Catfish
|Intermediate to superior fish keepers
|Peaceable, social, skittish, energetic
There are round 17 totally different species of Otocinclus catfish, however not all of them are saved as pets. The most typical species saved in aquariums are the O. macrospilus, O. vittatus, O. vestitus, and O. cocama. These species are sometimes mistaken for each other as a result of all of them have strikingly comparable appearances. This is the reason Otocinclus catfish are sometimes mislabeled when they’re up on the market, and there’s a lot of confusion with their frequent names.
Caring for Otocinclus is comparatively straightforward when you perceive their primary care necessities, though they’re nonetheless beneficial for extra skilled fish keepers.
Otocinclus Catfish Traits
How A lot Do Otocinclus Catfish Price?
Otocinclus catfish originate from South America, particularly in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina. Their wild habitat consists of slow-moving and shallow streams or rivers cluttered with rocks and vegetation. Though there are lots of species of Otocinclus catfish, not all of them are saved as pets. Their rarity and availability within the aquarium commerce trade can have an effect on their worth barely, though they aren’t very costly fish.
The O. cocama or Zebra Otocinclus is taken into account rarer than the opposite three species and customarily prices between $30 and $80. The extra frequent species of captive-raised Otocinclus catfish value round $10 to $35 per fish. You’ll be able to typically discover them offered at a reduced worth if you are going to buy them in teams from pet shops or on-line retailers.
Sociability of the Otocinclus Catfish
Do These Fish Make Good Pets?
Caring for Otocinclus catfish has its personal set of challenges, however they make good pets. It’s a good suggestion to solely hold Otocinclus you probably have earlier expertise elevating and caring for delicate tropical fish. They’re typically described as being finicky in aquariums and don’t tolerate stress properly.
Otocinclus are very delicate to water high quality, which impacts their habits and normal well being. They have to be saved in well-maintained and mature aquariums that meet their supreme water parameters. This makes them a poor alternative for newbie fish keepers who’re nonetheless studying the fundamentals of aquarium upkeep. Otocinclus have to be saved in tropical freshwater aquariums with no traces of ammonia or nitrite and is barely acidic. Their small dimension makes them appropriate for nano aquariums below 30 gallons, though they profit from having extra room to discover.
Does This Fish Make a Good Tankmate?
The Otocinclus is a extremely peaceable and social fish, which makes them appropriate with different small fish with an analogous temperament and water parameters. Earlier than holding Otocinclus catfish with different tankmates, you will need to perceive their social necessities. Otocinclus catfish are social fish that type giant shoals within the wild.
They need to by no means be saved alone or in pairs, and ideally in teams of 5 or extra of the identical species. Whereas the totally different species can coexist collectively, they could have slight variations of their social behaviors that would intrude with the compatibility of the shoal.
Apart from their species, Otocinclus catfish are appropriate with different small and peaceable fish that thrive at tropical temperatures. They will simply be injured or wired by being saved with incompatible tankmates, so select their tankmates rigorously.
|Black Skirt Tetra
|Livebearers (Guppies, Mollies, Platies, and Swordtails)
Aside from fish, Otocinclus catfish may be housed with thriller snails and generally even shrimp if there are many hiding locations.
Care Information & Tank Set Up
Otocinclus catfish should not have very demanding housing necessities. A 15-gallon tank can comfortably home 5 to 6 Otocinclus catfish because of their small dimension. The tank dimension will have to be upgraded in case you plan to maintain them with different fish. Regardless of their small dimension, Otocinclus catfish mustn’t reside in small bowls or vases as they don’t present them with sufficient house to thrive.
Moreover, the tank ought to have extra horizontal swimming house to accommodate their bottom-dwelling behaviors.
Water High quality, pH, & Temperature
If you’d like your Otocinclus catfish to be pleased and wholesome in an aquarium, good water high quality is important. Otocinclus catfish are tropical fish that want a heater of their aquarium set to a temperature vary of 74 to 82 levels Fahrenheit (23° to 27° Celsius). The temperature must be saved secure with few fluctuations to reduce your Otocinclus catfish’s stress.
Your Otocinclus catfish’s water ought to have an acidic to impartial pH vary of 5.5 to 7.5, and a water hardness of seven to fifteen dGH. Their tank must be absolutely cycled earlier than any Otocinclus catfish are added. There must be no traces of ammonia and nitrite of their water, and nitrates are tolerable as much as 15 ppm.
As bottom-dwelling fish, Otocinclus catfish will spend most of their time swimming alongside the substrate. You will need to select a pure and easy substrate that won’t injure them or be tough for them to forage via. A sandy or very positive quartz gravel substrate is beneficial. The colour ought to vary from mild tan, brown, and even black. You wish to keep away from any sharp gravels or ones with dangerous dyes or water-altering properties. Some substrates supreme for reside plant progress can change the pH of the water, which is likely to be tense for Otocinclus.
Otocinclus catfish thrive in closely planted tank setups. They get pleasure from having varied crops to cover below and it replicates their wild habitat. Dwell crops like java moss, jungle vals, java fern, fox tail, and hornwort are beneficial. It’s also possible to add items of driftwood or rocks to the tank to encourage your Otocinclus to eat any biofilm or algae that grows on them.
Otocinclus catfish are primarily nocturnal fish, however they nonetheless want lighting in the course of the day. Most Otocinclus catfish are energetic within the evenings and when the aquarium lights are turned off, they may eat and forage in the course of the day too. You wish to keep away from holding them in brightly lit aquariums as this may be tense for them and trigger them to hunt out darker areas of the tank to cover. A low to reasonably brilliant aquarium mild must be saved on for six to 10 hours per day and turned off at evening.
Otocinclus catfish want a filtration system within the aquarium to maintain the water clear and shifting. Nonetheless, the filter mustn’t produce a robust present, since Otocinclus catfish originate from slow-moving waters. Most filters can be utilized in Otocinclus aquariums, together with sponge, hang-on-back (HOB), canister, and varied inner or exterior filters. The filter ought to ideally use each mechanical and organic strategies to filter the water, however chemical filtration is useful too.
Issues to Know When Proudly owning an Otocinclus Catfish:
Meals & Food regimen Necessities
The Otocinclus catfish is an herbivore that primarily feeds on algae and detritus within the wild. Nonetheless, they eat a extra omnivorous weight loss program in captivity. Otocinclus catfish don’t require a lot protein of their weight loss program, however you may sometimes provide reside meals like child brine shrimp and daphnia. Their staple industrial weight loss program ought to include a sinking pelleted or flake meals with algae as the principle ingredient. Veggies like zucchini and cucumber may be supplied to Otocinclus just a few occasions every week, however they need to be eliminated inside half-hour to stop the water from fouling.
Measurement & Progress Charge
Most Otocinclus catfish are comparatively small in dimension, rising no bigger than 2 inches in size. Nonetheless, the scale of Otocinclus catfish can fluctuate relying on their species as some develop considerably bigger than others. The smallest species within the Otocinclus genus is the O. tapirape 1 inch lengthy. Whereas the most important species, the O. flexilis, continues to be small at solely 2.7 inches lengthy.
They’ve a comparatively quick progress price and do most of their progress throughout the first 4 months of their life. Most Otocinclus catfish are absolutely grown and sexually mature by the point they’re 6 months previous.
There are quite a few species of Otocinclus catfish, with solely a handful out there as pets—the Zebra, Frequent, Dwarf, and Silver Otocinclus. They’re higher recognized by their species identify since sure Otocinclus catfish should not have frequent names. Some species that had been beforehand within the Otocinclus genus have since been modified, resulting in much more confusion amongst hobbyists. The Golden Otocinclus catfish particularly was previously referred to as the O. affinus however has since been positioned within the Macrotocinclus genus.
Regardless of all of the confusion in regards to the species and their appearances, the few Otocinclus catfish saved as pets have an analogous look. They’re all characterised by their tiny pencil-shaped our bodies with brown to gray colorations and darkish stripes. Considered one of their most distinguishing options is the small suckermouths that they use to suction towards surfaces.
The Zebra Otocinclus catfish is definitely recognized by their uncommon patterns of silver and darkish brown blotches, whereas the Silver Otocinclus catfish has a shiny gray and brown coloration with darkish facet stripes. The Frequent or Dwarf Otocinclus have a yellowish-brown coloration, with the O. vittatus having uneven brown markings above their darkish facet stripes. All of them have a forked caudal fin, a single anal fin, a triangular dorsal fin, and a pair of ventral and pectoral fins.
Lifespan and Well being Situations
Otocinclus catfish have a comparatively quick lifespan of round 3 to five years. That is considerably shorter than many different bottom-dwelling fish just like the Plecostomus and just like the Cory catfish. With correct dwelling circumstances and a balanced weight loss program, you may hold your Otocinclus catfish wholesome sufficient to reside for the following 5 years in your care.
No matter how properly you take care of your Otocinclus catfish, they will nonetheless develop sure well being circumstances that may have an effect on their lifespan.
Male vs Feminine
Otocinclus catfish are sexually dimorphic fish and there are barely seen variations between the sexes. The feminine Otocinclus catfish is barely bigger and plumper than the males, which is simple to identify when considered from above. Male Otocinclus catfish have a slimmer look and barely pointier fins.
3 Little-Identified Info About Otocinclus Catfish
1. The Otocinclus catfish is among the smallest genera of catfish.
2. There are various totally different species of Otocinclus catfish, however just a few of them are saved in aquariums.
3. Otocinclus catfish are among the finest algae-eating fish that can be utilized to maintain algae progress below management.
If you’re an skilled fish keeper trying so as to add a bunch of small algae-eating fish to your aquarium, the Otocinclus catfish is likely to be a sensible choice. They’re appropriate with different small and peaceable fish, making them appropriate additions to tropical neighborhood aquariums. Otocinclus catfish hardly ever develop previous 2 inches lengthy, making them appropriate for nano aquariums over 10 gallons in dimension.
Remember the fact that as a social species, the Otocinclus catfish must be saved in teams of 5 or extra. Their tank must be absolutely cycled and well-maintained to make sure that their water high quality is good.
In any other case, Otocinclus catfish are energetic shoaling fish that do a fantastic job at consuming cussed algae and biofilm in aquariums.
Featured Picture Credit score: nwarul Kabir Photograph, Shutterstock