Otocinclus Catfish Care Guide

by Cory McElroy January 12, 2019 3 min read

Otocinclus Catfish Care Guide

With their docile attitude, Otocinclus Catfish can be a great addition to your tank. These little Catfish have no mean bones in their body and will not attack other animals in your tank. You can safely add numbers to your tank without risking shows of aggression with the Otocinclus Catfish.

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Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish is a peaceful fish that like to keep to their school of buddies. They are the perfect fish in both their calm demeanor and cleaning skills. The Otocinclus Catfish will clean glass, but they absolutely love to clean plants. They are great at delicately cleaning your greenery and your Catfish with stay happy and healthy eating any particles off the leaves. These fish are also excellent for tanks that have babies or shrimp inside them. The Otocinclus Catfish has great qualities that can enhance any tank, but you should take caution when purchasing these fish from the store.

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How to Purchase the Otocinclus Catfish

While you always want to be sure you are buying healthy fish, it is especially important to look at the health status of an Otocinclus Catfish before you purchase. These Catfish can be at risk of starving to death if they are not cared for properly.

Most Otocinclus Catfish are wild caught and purchased in large numbers by wholesalers. As the Catfish are shipped from the source to the wholesaler, they risk not receiving adequate food. The same goes for when they arrive and are housed at the wholesale location. Many wholesalers do not provide adequate food for the Otocinclus Catfish and they can become drastically thin or die from starvation.

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Life after the wholesaler often does not improve. Many pet stores will overfill the tank and house too many catfish in one aquarium. Again, they will not provide a sufficient amount of food or supply a decent source. Often one algae pellet is dropped in the tank and one algae pellet cannot feed 100 fish.

The Otocinclus Catfish does not like protein and only wants vegetables. Another fault can be that they are placed in a clean tank, which does not provide a sufficient number of algae for the fish to feed on. When there aren’t enough algae, you need to provide a source of algae for them to feed off of. This is often not supplied at pet stores and also affects the health of the fish.

Due to the high risk of starvation, it is best to look for and purchase the fattest Otocinclus Catfish that you can find. The ones with the full bellies are the healthy fish. A few other ways to ensure you are buying healthy fish is to look at the location they are being sold at, as well as their listed price.

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The price range of the Otocinclus Catfish can have a wide range. In some stores, they are listed as $2 per fish and in other stores, they will be sold for up to $4 per fish. More often than not, the less expensive listing price indicates an unhealthy fish. In stores like Petsmart, Otocinclus Catfish are usually listed for about $2 per fish, but they are skinny. The problem with a skinny Otocinclus Catfish is that they will stop eating if they do not get enough to eat in the first place. Once the Catfish is starved, it cannot be brought back and will stop having the urge to eat. Often buying the $2 Otocinclus Catfish means you are buying a dead fish.

In other stores, the Otocinclus Catfish can be listed for $4 per fish. The rise in price may be a drawback but in reality, it is extremely beneficial to you. The fish that are sold for up to $4 per fish are normally fatter and healthier. These Otocinclus Catfish happily swim around with their round bellies, feeding on the tank or provided algae. By investing the $4 in one fish, you are ensuring that it will have a happy life living in your aquarium. A healthy Otocinclus Catfish can live for 5-7 years.

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You know you will have reached success in finding a good food balance if your Otocinclus Catfish has lived in your tank for more than a month or two. If your fish have survived that long of a time, it means they are getting enough food to continue happily navigating their new home.

The Otocinclus Catfish is the perfect little fish to add to your tank and if you invest some love and care, they will happily thrive for years.

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