Introducing The Otocinclus!

I can officially say I am happy with my otocinclus. I really hope I am not jinxing anything by saying so.

Otocinclus, a dwarf sucking cat fish, are notoriously picky when it comes to water parameters, and acquiring some and putting them into your own tank at home can often be a very traumatic experience for these little fish and the chance of casualties is often quite high.

Thankfully though, I am pleased to say that they have been in my tank now two and a half weeks and have settled in amazingly. All four of them are growing, exploring, socialising and maintaining those cute little plump bellies of theirs which is a very good sign of a healthy oto. One of the problems people sometimes find with these fish is that they may unexplainabley lose them, even after they have settled in, due to starvation. Otocinclus act as a very efficient clean up crew, constantly munching on any algae in the tank – whether it be on the glass, ornaments or your plants (they are very gentle with plants and do not harm them). But they are so good at it that when they have eaten it all, they can sometimes accidentally become deprived of food. It is a good idea to help supplement their diet with algae wafers or vegetables. In my tank, algae wafers are not very useful as they get absolutely destroyed by their tank mates, the guppies. But every few days I leave a big chunk of cucumber or courgette in the tank for 24hours and they go bananas over it.

Even if some don’t quite get it! 

When I first acquired these beautiful little catfish, I drip acclimated them for around four hours before I introduced them into my main community tank. (I should have also quarantined them, but I was bad and too excited so I couldn’t wait..).

In order to do this process, I used an empty three gallon tank and released them into this with the water from their bag. Using long plastic tubing, I created suction so that water was pulled up from the main tank and down into their tank. I then attached a pair of pliers to the tubing to make the water flow very slow. After four hours of the main tank water dripping into their little tank, I netted them up one by one and released them into the community. I wanted to net them and not pour them in as I did not want to mix the water from the pet shop with the water in my big tank. The otos seemed really relaxed before I did this, otherwise I may have kept them in the three gallon tank longer – maybe even over night.

The otos are living now in my 19gallon community planted tank with 10 male guppies and one female Siamese fighting fish (betta splenden). This little girlie was added a week after the otos after I realised she much preferred living in the community set up after I had kept her in there for a few days in a breeder box whilst I was acquiring her equipment for her own tank, and after removing her for a few days, felt it best to put her back! A proper update on my girl Impa, will be done at a later date.

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Update on the 20g Planted Tank

The guppies are getting bigger! They’re darkening up nicely (all but one, which is remaining a cute pale see through yellow and orange) and their tails are getting lovely and long and flowy. They are starting to chase each other quite a lot as territories get settled and thankfully, as of yet, there are no babies or signs of pregnancy! This is a very good thing.

The echinodorus is growing nicely, but is battling for sunlight a bit due to the explosive mass of duckweed. We are having to throw a good few handfuls of this away every week, and give some to the goldfish for a yummy treat as it just grows so fast!  It’s what I wanted though and I’m still a duckweed fan. Thinking of sectioning off part of the surface of the tank so that the duckweed only grows over a certain area thus providing a shaded spot in the tank for the lower light growing plants and giving the Amazon sword the light it needs to continue to grow.

I have also added a load of cabomba to the tank. It’s a lovely big fluffy plant which has provided loads of  hiding spots for the guppies. This is good if the males fighting for territories get a little too aggressive.

Otocinclus tonight! Very excited.