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species identification of Otos Dear Mr. Fenner, I have been examining many sites on the internet in hopes of answering some questions I have concerning Otos. In every site, almost every picture was similiar, but each had a different species name attached. How can I tell them apart? I have what I believe is a Paraotocinclus, and two Otos. The Otos I'm sure of, however, not in species identification. Where can I get help in differentiation? <About the best on-line source (bibliographic) here is fishbase.org... my print bibliography on these species of loricariids can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/otosagb.htm Bob Fenner> B. Jurich

Otocinclus Hello Bob, have heard a lot about you from folks at SDMAS here in San Diego. <Maybe see you later tonight> My gig is working on breeding marine ornamentals but I saw your article on the "little suckers" in FAMA and thought I'd use the excuse to introduce myself. I had never head of the fish until a few months ago, I helped a friend set up a fresh water planted tank and came across them. Gotta say I love 'em. I have a small backyard pond (300 gals) and was wondering how they might do in there. Temps are in the high 50's right now, but I thought as spring came on I could introduce some, maybe twenty or so. Do you think they could handle So. Cal. temps year round if acclimated? <Not all year round, no... could be kept outdoors maybe four, five months out of the year... but would insert a thermostatic heater... set low... for safety's sake> I've got some small koi and pond comets (no surprise) but what stuns me is that there are a number of zebra danios and white clouds that came in with "feeder" guppies I threw in there during the summer. To my surprise the guppies died out as the weather got colder in December but the zebras and white clouds seem fine! I know you're a busy guy but if you have a moment let me know what you think. ...David <These are tough little minnows. Have had them outdoors (nearer the coast) in large enough, weather-sheltered ponds in San Diego as well. Be seeing, chatting with you. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia>

RE: Daily Fish Email out WWM Can you identify this species of "Oto" (Otocinclus or similar genus) catfish? A beauty... at Singapore's Aquarama this year.> Sorry, don't know them as well as you. This time of year fish take a back seat to that most robust of birds. Its too bad that we don't have a holiday that celebrates the FISH. <Should though... have been through my print references re this species... and another or two that I'll post in succeeding days... they're under commercial production in the "far East"... Seems odd to not find at least an i.d.... Gobble, gobble, Bobble>

illnesses with oto Dear Robert, I actually have two questions. We recently bought 2 Otocincus flexilis and they initially did well. However after about 1 week, one died and the other has stopped eating. Our water tends to run on the alkaline side but never higher than 7.6-7.8, <Otocinclus spp. don't care for hard, alkaline water... this or the stress/damage from collection, shipping could easily account for what you have observed> I tested the nitrites (zero), I generally do 25% water changes every week, no further apart than 2 weeks. We have 8 other fish in the tank (20 gallons) 3 upsidedown catfish, 2 swordtails and 3 bleeding heart tetras. Of note, one of our swordtails was incredibily sick approx 1 year ago. We managed to nurse him back to health with 14 days of gram positive and gram negative antibiotic coverage as well as with coppersafe (all in a quarantine tank). Since then, he has been fine. About 2 months ago, one of our tetras began swimming erractically (nose pointed upward, tail pointed down and appears to be frantically swimming but no getting anywhere.) He was moved to the quarantine tank as well. He's gotten a bit better (now he eats) but he still swims funny and now hs tail is all frayed. I treated him for 14 days as well with maracyn 1 and 2 and coppersafe. (I've continued the coppersafe). So, the two questions are: what's wrong with our bleeding heart tetra and did the Oto's get what he had (he had been out of main tank for nearly 1 month before we added the 2 oto's) <This all sounds a bit eerie...> Also, I just read your article on the web and noticed that coppersafe can do more harm than good to these guys. The oto died today. I had added coppersafe and Maracyn 1 and 2 to the tank this AM after noticing that both were acting sick (he was worse than his buddy). Did I kill him with the coppersafe? <Likely this contributed to the loss> Thanks for hatever help you can offer. Brigitte Baumann <I would have your source water checked (by the supplying agency, a quality assurance lab...) and likely get/use a filtration system for your pet-fish as well as drinking and cooking uses... Please do look into a reverse osmosis unit... inexpensive, easily maintained. Bob Fenner>

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