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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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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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