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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok...so, as far as I can determine, NOTHING has changed in my tank. Water temp is 71 degrees(as it has been for the last 2 months), all the other fish are fine, everyone is eating..but all of a sudden, the otto's are just dying off one after another. It started 3 days ago..found one dead in the AM. Then yesterday, found TWO dead. Today, another is dying, and the last one left looks like it will follow shortly, as it's suddenly gotten skinny(yes..TONS of algae present, food is not an issue!).
Water parameters are rock steady, the tank has been established and in equilibrium since early spring..
The ONLY thing I did..was I did a prune and siphon of a bit of cyno..but I've done that once a month, every month, and it's never bothered them before.
Any ideas? I would like to keep some in there..but if there is some disease I"m not aware of, I hate to just introduce more to be doomed...
 

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It has happened to me a couple of times,really annoying..I don't think it's your fault.they remind me of cardinals that actually after tons of posts of people's that were loosing them one by one we still(at least I)didn't come to a conclusion afterall
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Last three died today. The two sick one's I mentioned yesterday, and one that seemed perfectly healthy last night. All 3 were dead, and being consumed by the remaining fish today. Just weird...nothing at all seems out of the ordinary, and again, the rest of the fish(of several species) show zero signs of stress or trouble. I guess I'll just let the flag fish take over primary algae duties for the time being!
 

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Together with a recently acquired new oto crew I also introduced columnaris desease to this tank and all but 2 out of 27 blue neon tetras died. Still the otos are all healthy after 2 months. The bunch of otos before that died completely on me all of a sudden within days after only 6 weeks. Again the ones preceding I could keep for more than 3 1/2 years. I'm using reconstituted distilled water for that particular tank and the param's were kept stable all the time within small variations.

I suspect it might be gene pool or treatment (antibiotics etc.) when juvenile determining how long they can make it?
I recommend swaping retailer/source to buy from.

Best regards,
Detlef
 

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I suspect it might be gene pool or treatment (antibiotics etc.) when juvenile determining how long they can make it?
If you're talking about Otocinclus rather than the neons here then the 'gene pool' (I assume you're referring to inbreeding depression?) shouldn't be an issue as they are, as far as I am aware, all wild caught. Therefore if they have survived to reach adulthood in the wild they should certainly be genetically fit.

I think that as they are starved before shipping some simply don't start feeding again and waste away unless they are immediately put in an algae filled tank, with algae they will eat. I've found mine are really only keen on diatoms and green algae - they won't touch my BBA or BGA when I had an outbreak.

Of my last batch of 6, one died after about 5 weeks while the others are still going strong months later.
 

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Yeah, it is indeed a strange phenomenon, even in Asia where I'm from. The otos would be fine for few days, then drop dead all of sudden. But at least they died working and cleaned my tank of algae:) I do give them proper burials, if like you said, the other fish didn't eat them already.
 

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If you're talking about Otocinclus rather than the neons here then the 'gene pool' (I assume you're referring to inbreeding depression?) shouldn't be an issue as they are, as far as I am aware, all wild caught.
Ed, yes I was talking about otocinclus on which I've got controversial info. Some say otos are wild caught others claim they are all raised in captivity (with inbreeding issues going along). May be some one more knowledgeable can chime in? And I was also confirmed that especially otos are prone to sudden death for whatever reason. They often needed to be treated with antibiotics similar to guppies which had turned into one of the most delicate/sensitive species of fish.

Wild caught otos have to withstand a long journey for sure until they make it to their final home so they can easily get starved and won't survive if it takes too long a time for them or if they can't find the particular alga they like. What surprised me was that several different batches I've bought did not show any signs of stress diplayed normal looking bellies, shape and behaviour for about 6-8 weeks but then were all dead within 8 days.

I not only like these little cats because they are irreplaceable removers of periphyton.

Best regards,
Detlef
 

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ive never heard of this until this post. I have 5 otos, bought about 4 months ago. Not long ago i did notice that i havent seen all 5 together, and just assumed they were hiding under leaves or something. I will keep an eye out for them and try to get a count. Sorry to hear that, they are great.
 

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Ed, yes I was talking about otocinclus on which I've got controversial info. Some say otos are wild caught others claim they are all raised in captivity (with inbreeding issues going along). May be some one more knowledgeable can chime in? And I was also confirmed that especially otos are prone to sudden death for whatever reason. They often needed to be treated with antibiotics similar to guppies which had turned into one of the most delicate/sensitive species of fish.

Wild caught otos have to withstand a long journey for sure until they make it to their final home so they can easily get starved and won't survive if it takes too long a time for them or if they can't find the particular alga they like. What surprised me was that several different batches I've bought did not show any signs of stress diplayed normal looking bellies, shape and behaviour for about 6-8 weeks but then were all dead within 8 days.

I not only like these little cats because they are irreplaceable removers of periphyton.

Best regards,
Detlef
That's interesting, I've never heard that about them being captive bred. I know that the fish stores I know near me can only source Otos from wild sources. Do you have any more info about captive bred sources?

Ed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The odd thing is, they were introduced into a heavily algae "laden" tank, and were as plump as any I've ever seen. The deaths did not come just after introduction either, the school of them has been in the tank for nearly 6 months! The deaths came quick. They would be fine, the all of a sudden you see one laying on it's side on the bottom, breathing really fast. By the next day(at most) it would be dead...this pattern was consistent, until most were dead. However...my count must have been off, as today, there were two on the glass! Still....not another fish has shown any signs of illness or stress, so It remains a mystery.
 

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if they were wild caught they may have had a parasite of some sort, also IIRC Ich lives in the gills of fish usually and I have heard of it destroying the gill tissue (rendering the fish unable to breathe basically).

YMMV
IANABiologist
 

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Sounds interesting. If that is indeed the case, any way we can remedy this? Perhaps by quaranteeing them first in a separate tank rather than eagerly dumping them into our algae-filled tanks right away?

If so, what would be a good medication or chemical?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
if they were wild caught they may have had a parasite of some sort, also IIRC Ich lives in the gills of fish usually and I have heard of it destroying the gill tissue (rendering the fish unable to breathe basically).

YMMV
IANABiologist
I don't know..it's possible of course, but it seems a bit of an oddity for that to effect them all at once, and not until they had been established and healthy for several months. I was thinking more along the lines of some disease, or new environmental condition? The only recent addition was that I feed live blackworms, and while I take precautions to wash them..maybe something "hitchhiked" in with the last batch?
Dunno..just weird, and maddening when you can't at least ID what went wrong!
 

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Here is the outcome on S.O.D.S. about which I've asked a few people including biologists who should know much more about fish health than I do:

It's likely that wholesalers treat otos with a combo of malachite green, methylene blue and copper sulfate to keep fish losses down. As otos seem to be very sensitive to Cu they can die very quickly several weeks or even months! after treatment from heavy metal poisoning without displaying any signs of illness (cirrhosis of the liver was suspected).

Otos seem to live only 3-5 years on average depending on species. They are said to be very sensitive when comitted with new water param's, nitrite or high PO4 (>1ppm).

Growing otos is possible and was done both from individuals and from breeders although not very often. With otos caught in the wild wholesalers and LFS can make more money than with otos raised in captivity since the genus is not very productive. Thus the fish is supposedly taken from the wild simply because profit matters most.

Be careful with these charming and peaceful but sometimes featherbrained little guys.

Best regards,
Detlef
 

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Just had one die today of 5... This is about a month after I got them -_- I had 2 that seemed to be going strong, then bought 4, those 4 died, and then 5, another 1 died... So I have 4 left, and dunno where the other 2 went... Maybe they died and I don't remember. I'm not gonna get any more otos though, just gonna get some MTS.
 

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A good friend told me it more than likely had to do with the diatom, which is part of oto's diet in nature. And when they don't get that, they will be deprived of that nutrient. A good substitution is algae wafer. I will go ahead and try that.
 

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Well I dont think food is the answer, 4 out of five died for me and I had them in a dedicated spiecistank where they got all kinds of suplimental food. The last one dissapeard and i thougth it was dead, so i put in some other fish and after a couple of months the otto reapeard and it was huge! Now 5 months later it still lives.
 

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99% of otos are wild caught (and now most of the species are endangered due to overfishing for aquariums). If you happen to know the breeder in captivity please always give preference to buy from him. Captivity breeders are much safer to buy from and most deseases are treated. Otos you buy from pet stores are all wild caught and you ought to have 2-3 weeks quarantine in the separate tank. To do it successfully please follow following instructions (1) have quarantine tank filled with water and put to place with plenty of sun, wait for algae to grow, preferably if you have some plants in the tank to increase surface (2) buy otos (3) replace water in the tank and treat it as normally you treat from chlorine etc (4) place the otos in separate container with package water and slowly dilute the water with quarantine tank water (it will take 20 min or so) (5) put otos in the quarantine tank with diluted water (6) provide supplementary food and regularly change water 1 time per 4 days , provide plenty of light so that algae grows well in the tank. (7) after 2-3 weeks if no sign of deaseas introduce to the main tank and watch behaviour.
Above procedure helped me always to keep otos. Still otos are quite fragile, if you give them zucchini without cutting off the skin it may kill them with pesticides, if you give them other vegies especially root type (like potato, gobo root etc) they may die as well. Any fluctuations in your water supply with Cu additive or antialgae additive from water supply company will surely kill them. They die from certain reason for sure, there is always a reason.
Above is just my observation and I'm not expert, let me know if something i missed or wrong about.
 
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