What is an Otocinclus?
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What is an Otocinclus?

The Otocinclus is quite peaceful and it thrives in a school environment. However, putting it in a fish tank with aggressive and larger fish will cause it a lot of stress and possibly death. For fish tank companions, the Otocinclus is compatible with barbs, mollies, guppies, swordtails, angelfish, tetras, discus, danios, platies, gouramis, loaches, scavenger catfish, rasboras and rainbowfish. It likes being alone at times so plenty of hiding places inside the fish tank is a must to keep this fish happy.

Introduction

There are a number of species of catfish in existence, most of them are medium or large in size. There are however some species that are smaller than most, one of which is the Otocinclus, which is commonly found in the fast moving rivers of South America. Known to have a diet of algae, this fish can be a good aquarium cleaner especially if there are a lot of plants in it since algae are more likely to multiply faster in this type of environment. Below is more information about the Otocinclus catfish.

Physical Appearance

The Otocinclus can grow up to 2 inches or about 5 cenOtocinclus Catfishtimeters in length, making it one of the smallest species of catfish in the world. It is usually brown and tan in color with a large black line extending from its face to its tail. Its mouth resembles a suction cup which serves it well when feeding on algae found on fish tank surfaces such as the fish tank wall and plants. It has large bulging eyes and a large tail fin.

Behavior and Temperament

The Otocinclus is quite peaceful and it thrives in a school environment. However, putting it in a fish tank with aggressive and larger fish will cause it a lot of stress and possibly death. For fish tank companions, the Otocinclus is compatible with barbs, mollies, guppies, swordtails, angelfish, tetras, discus, danios, platies, gouramis, loaches, scavenger catfish, rasboras and rainbowfish. It likes being alone at times so plenty of hiding places inside the fish tank is a must to keep this fish happy.

Feeding and Maintenance

Due to its small size, the Otocinclus only requires a minimum aquarium size of 30 gallons. The aquarium needs to have a lot of potential hiding places for this fish like driftwood, plants and large rocks since it likes to hide to relieve stress. This fish is prone to getting weak and even dying from poor water conditions and lack of food so adequate food and frequent water changes are needed to sustain this fish. Feeding this fish is quite easy especially if the fish tank has a lot of plants. For an aquarium with a small number of plant life, the diet of the Otocinclus can be supplemented with wafer or flake food that are vegetable-based.

Tank conditions for the Otocinclus require a pH level of 6 to 7.5, a temperature of 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a water hardness of 6 to 15 degrees dH. This fish usually stays in the top or the middle part of the fish tank, so make sure that those areas of the tank have an ample amount of hiding places and food sources. It does stay at the bottom every now and then, usually to hide, so it is also a good idea to spread out the hiding paces and plant life in all levels of the fish tank.

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