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How Many Otocinclus Should Really Be Kept Together?

How Many Otocinclus Should Really Be Kept Together?
This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

When buying otocinclus catfish for your aquarium, you want to do your best to ensure that they’re comfortable. These fish can be a bit vulnerable when first entering a new aquarium.

Once they’re established, they’re rather hardy fish. Even so, it’s important to ensure that these fish have the right environment so they can thrive and remain healthy.

Part of keeping otos safe in your fish tank is keeping enough of them together. How many otocinclus should be kept together in a fish tank, though?

Continue reading to learn about how many otos are meant to be kept together in one tank. This will help you to get things right so your fish will be happy in your aquarium.

Can Otocinclus Live Alone?

It’s not appropriate to keep just one otocinclus fish in a tank by itself. These fish aren’t used to being alone.

This isn’t how they live in the wild. In the wild, otocinclus catfish will be among many of its own kind.

If you try to keep these fish by themselves in fish tanks, they’ll suffer. It’ll likely cause the fish to experience an extreme amount of stress.

The stress will eventually cause the fish to get sick, and it’ll wind up dying in the tank. These fish already have a hard time acclimating to new fish tanks, but they’ll be very vulnerable if you keep them alone.

You must keep these fish in small groups with other otos. Otherwise, you’re going to cause the fish to die, and you wouldn’t want something like that to happen.

Are Otocinclus Schooling Fish?

Yes, otocinclus are schooling fish that live with thousands of their own kind. The appropriate term for these fish is actually “shoaling.”

They live in huge shoals in the wild and aren’t supposed to be kept alone. You’re not even supposed to keep them in pairs.

Otos are used to living in groups, and that’s the best way to keep them happy in a fish tank. When you want to have a good experience, it’s important to buy enough otocinclus catfish so they can be comfortable in the aquarium.

You want to give the otos a situation where they’ll feel at home. This means giving them enough space in the tank, ensuring that you’re keeping them in a planted aquarium, and keeping them in appropriately-sized groups.

The Best Number of Otocinclus to Keep in One Tank

How many otocinclus catfish need to be kept in one fish tank? You need to keep at least six of them in one tank for them to be okay.

If you try to keep them in groups of five or fewer, things aren’t going to go well for them. Six appears to be the magic number, but it’s by no means the best number to choose.

Most enthusiasts agree that it’s best to keep these fish in groups of ten to fifteen. If you have room for a slightly larger fish tank, going with a group of at least ten is recommended.

Six otocinclus catfish can fit well enough in a 10-gallon fish tank. If you only have room for a small tank, it’s fine to keep six of them in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Ten otos can be kept in a 20-gallon fish tank easily. This is going to be a better situation, and most experts recommend going with this.

Remember that you’ll need an even larger tank if you’re planning to keep these fish in a community tank. You need to make sure there’s enough room for all of the fish that you wish to add as well as the plants.

Otocinclus Catfish Need Plants

Remember that plants are important for otocinclus catfish. There are a few reasons for this.

Otos need plants because they’re primarily algae eaters. Certain types of plants will help algae growth.

Also, otos love to eat algae right off of the plants. They’ll also eat algae off of the glass and various objects in the tank.

Aside from this, otos are a bit shy, and they like to hide from time to time. It’s normal for these fish to use aquatic plants as hiding spots when they feel the need.

A planted aquarium is a must when you want otos to feel at home in the tank. Make sure that you pick out good plants for otos so they will enjoy the tank to the fullest.

Otos Are Good Community Fish

Otos are very good community fish overall. Many people love putting them in community tanks because they help to clean algae.

These fish go around the tank and eat algae. They’re so peaceful that they don’t ever bother their tank mates.

As long as you pick compatible fish, it’ll be a good experience. The otos will never fight and prefer to run away or hide if another fish tries to start a conflict.

Since otos are peaceful, it’s important to pick tank mates for them carefully. They can be bullied by other fish if you’re not careful.

Do your best to research compatible tank mates. There are many great options that will get along well with otos, but you need to make sure that every single fish that you want to put in the tank will be compatible with each other as well.

Final Thoughts

It’s so important to keep the right number of otocinclus catfish in a fish tank. Trying to keep an otocinclus fish by itself would put it in a very stressed state.

This is going to cause the fish to experience a number of different health issues. Eventually, the fish is going to die.

You’re supposed to keep otos in groups of six or more in a fish tank. This is because otos live in large shoals of thousands in the wild.

To get the best experience, you should try keeping them in groups of ten to fifteen. Doing this will require you to keep them in a slightly larger tank, but experts say that it’s worthwhile to do.

You can have a good experience keeping just six of these fish in a 10-gallon fish tank, though. Do your best to care for these fish, and they will live between five and seven years in your aquarium.

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