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July 21, 2019
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Title Otocinclus Catfish

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the otocinclus catfish, a tiny but effective algae eater.


The otocinclus catfish (Otocinclus vittatus) is a small fish native to tropical South America  where it inhabits well oxygenated, moderate to slow flowing environments, often near river banks.  This fish grows to an adult size of about 2 inches long.  Females are more full bodied than males.



The otocinclus catfish should be maintained in an aquarium of 10 gallons or larger.  A dark colored soft, sandy substrate (CS7538) is a good choice.  Driftwood (ZM2000) and  live or artificial plants may also be incorporated.     


The otocinclus catfish prefers a temperature of 70°F to 79°F, a pH of 5.5 to 7.5, and a hardness of 0 to 20°H.  Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated.


The otocinclus catfish is a very peaceful fish well suited to a planted aquarium.  Good tank mates include many species of tetra, cory catfish, rasboras, danios, livebearers. and many other species of peaceful fish.  These small fish are also safe to maintain with ornamental shrimp.  The otocinclus catfish will do best when kept in a shoal of at least 6 to 10.


In the wild, the otocinclus catfish is an herbivore feeding on algae.  In the aquarium it will readily accept algae wafers (HIK6789) and vegetables such as zucchini.  For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.


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