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Dwarf Suckermouth Catfish
January 9, 2009
10:51 pm
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Headdy
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March 15, 2008
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Howdy folks,

Recently I've tried introducing some dwarf suckermouth catfish (Otocinclus affinis) to my big tank to help with the algae cleanup, as recommended by a book on aquarium plants.

I read some information online beforehand about them having a shocking mortality rate in the first month, and they weren't kidding. I've had nine in total (I started out with three), and at least five of them died - one died in less than a day, and one didn't even make it home.

Does anyone have any experience/tips for keeping these fish?

January 10, 2009
12:15 am
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Bluedave
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They do better in a more mature tank and are sensitive to nitrate in my experience.

I ususlly wait for a couple of weeks when my LFS get them in and then buy the survivors (harsh but true)!

January 10, 2009
12:24 am
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Bigbadbaz
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October 2, 2008
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I had a group of 4 in a multi tank, one went after a day, another after a week, got 3 more, all gone within 2 months, tank was mature and reading fine, I have not replaced them, seem to be a very bad fish....

January 10, 2009
12:32 am
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Headdy
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Yes, that would probably explain why I've only seen two shops that have them - and even then in such small numbers. If they are sensitive to nitrate then that would be a problem as well, since my tap water is constantly 20ppm.

January 10, 2009
12:36 am
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mickthefish
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June 24, 2008
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yup, the same as you guys, the longest i've ever kept them alive is 6 mths, good heathy well fed fish that just turn over and die.
this i class as my bogey fish as the same happens every time, so i don't get them any more.

mick

January 10, 2009
9:12 am
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Bluedave
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It's not just your bogey fish Mick! Pretty much everyoe has trouble with these fish as they are so weak once they've been imported.

They probably shouldn't sell them to be honest as i'm pretty sure they are all wild caught (i'm sure somebody will correct me if i'm wrong). There was an article (i think in PFK) that I read a couple of years ago that reckoned over half of the fish imported didn't make it but that they were imported in such large numbers that nobody really noticed!

I've kept them in a few set ups using RO water with very low nitrates (less than 5ppm) and very soft water KH/GH 4 and pH 6.3 and they lasted for ages. Well the ones that survived the first month, I think I lost 4 or 5 out of 15 that I bought in that first month. This was a big set up as well and I think that helps as they seem to take any opportunity to croak, any small change in the water quality etc.

Fed them spirulina tablets to fatten them up.

January 10, 2009
12:24 pm
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Eyrie
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March 21, 2008
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I think diet is a major issue with Otocinclus. Most people buy them to eat algae, but they probably need the aufwuchs and over time they will clear the tank of these.

Mature, sensible signature required for responsible position. Good prospects for the right candidate. Apply within.
January 10, 2009
2:06 pm
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David Marshall
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June 1, 2008
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Hey

I know of fishkeepers who have kept these fish for around 24 months but my opinion with Otocinclus is that these fish are actually annual in nature, as say Aphyosemion killies are, thus are naturally short lived.

Regards David

January 10, 2009
2:15 pm
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mickthefish
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David, don't you mean Nothobranchius sp?, i've kept Aphy's for a good few years,
a decent life for the ones i've kept can be up to 5/6 years, only near the end do they look their age.

mick

January 13, 2009
1:55 pm
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David Marshall
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Hey Mick

It is a good job I take your comments in good heart ha ha ha.

Okay I will let you have this one but only because I made the mistake of not saying some Aphyosemion as there are annual and non-annual fish in this large genus.

As you well know Aphy's live longer lives, annual or not, in aquaria than they do in the wild.

Regards, your friend, David

January 31, 2009
9:25 am
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geoffkemp
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June 23, 2008
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I`ve discussed the subject of Otto Death on another forum with a few of the members. One common thing we noticed was that on examniation, we all saw what was termed "marble belly" with roughly where the gut was assumed to be, with a hardened distended area. I don`t beleive anyone got as far as cutting a dead one open. Though from various observation this was seen on a number of corpses.

As to the cause of this, we had a few ideas, on the cause of this. I think the main one was the possibily of bacteria in the gut that enabled the fish to digest it`s food, that was lacking in the aquarium enviroment, being put forwards as one suggestion.

January 31, 2009
11:33 am
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oaken
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I recently gave away two Otocinclus macrospilus that were over 2 years old, and they are the only two ones I've ever bought, and for the record they weren't bought at the same time. I never fed them anything but one thing they really seemed to love was leaf litter., which I think they eat to some extent. Mine were fat and happy all the time, and there wasn't that much algae to eat either.

January 31, 2009
3:59 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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June 13, 2011
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Those are some really interesting points guys. I have a couple of Otocinclus description papers and they both say that the genus is believed to be the most basal of the tribe Hypoptopomatini on the basis of seven unique characteristics, one of which is the structure of the gut. I'd love to know what exactly is unique about that...

Cake or death?
January 31, 2009
5:52 pm
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geoffkemp
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QUOTE (oaken @ Jan 31 2009, 11:16 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I recently gave away two Otocinclus macrospilus that were over 2 years old, and they are the only two ones I've ever bought, and for the record they weren't bought at the same time. I never fed them anything but one thing they really seemed to love was leaf litter., which I think they eat to some extent. Mine were fat and happy all the time, and there wasn't that much algae to eat either.

Often thought about adding a layer of leaf litter to a tank, as I think it is benefical for a number of species.

QUOTE (Matt @ Jan 31 2009, 03:42 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Those are some really interesting points guys. I have a couple of Otocinclus description papers and they both say that the genus is believed to be the most basal of the tribe Hypoptopomatini on the basis of seven unique characteristics, one of which is the structure of the gut. I'd love to know what exactly is unique about that...

Certainly adds weight to the arguement. Have you got a link to said papers?

February 1, 2009
11:17 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Sho fing. /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

Cake or death?
February 2, 2009
3:14 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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I seem to remember Chrissy (ulsterexile) had some success with Otos. Let's hope she sees this and can offer some extra info!

Cake or death?
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