Keeping otocinclus catfish in your aquarium should be great. These fish are fun to watch, and they’re also good community tank members.
Many people keep these fish in their tanks for cleaning purposes. They like to eat algae and can be very useful fish to have around.
If you bought some otos recently, you might be worried if one seems to have disappeared in the tank. Where could the fish have gone?
Keep reading to learn about what you should do when your otocinclus isn’t visible in the tank. This might help you to figure out where it’s hiding.
Is Your Otocinclus Simply Hiding?
Don’t overreact and assume that your otocinclus catfish is dead. It might be okay, and you simply can’t see where it is right now.
One thing to know about otos is that they like to hide. These fish often hide when they’re feeling a bit uncomfortable about something.
You should take excessive hiding as a sign that there might be problems in the tank. You’ll learn a bit more about this later on.
For now, it’s time to focus on where your otocinclus catfish might be. If you can find them, then it’ll be easier to stop worrying.
Where Are the Otocinclus Hiding?
Now it’s time to look in the tank and see if you can spot your otos somewhere. There are many spots in the tank where otos could be hiding.
It’s very common for otos to hide among aquatic plants. They spend their days near the bottom of the tank, and they often eat algae right off of the plants.
They also hide among the plants when they feel the need. If you look at the plants closely, it’s possible that you might spot some of the otos hiding there.
There are other places that they might be hiding, too. It just depends on how many hiding spots you have in your tank.
Many people like to put little caves in the tank for the otos to use. They’ll sometimes hide in the caves if they feel like they want to get away.
You might see them hiding near driftwood or other objects in the tank, too. If you take the time to peek at these objects closely, it’s likely that you’ll find the otos.
Why Are My Otocinclus Hiding?
Determining why the otos are hiding can be a bit tricky. There could be so many different things going on.
Otos will start hiding whenever they feel stressed or uncomfortable in the tank. It could be something as simple as the water parameters being off.
You should use pH balance testing kits to test the water weekly. It’s important to keep the water parameters in the right range when you’re trying to keep these fish healthy.
Incompatible tank mates might stress the fish and make them want to hide. Otocinclus catfish are very peaceful, and they’d rather hide than fight.
If there are fish in the tank that are bothering the otos, you might need to address the problem. Otherwise, the otos could wind up dying due to stress.
A little bit of hiding isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s wise to note when otos are hiding because it could be a sign that something is amiss.
Did the Otocinclus Get Devoured?
Finally, you might have to consider whether your otos have died. If one or more of the otos appears to be missing, it might have been eaten by another fish.
If you’re keeping these fish in a community fish tank, it’s important to consider this possibility. Otos can be eaten by fish that are larger than them.
Are you keeping the otos in a community tank with fish that they aren’t compatible with? Otos are excellent community tank fish, but they need to be kept with peaceful fish that won’t bully them.
Fish that are aggressive and large can easily eat otocinclus catfish. Otos aren’t very big at all since they only grow to be around two inches long at maturity.
If you don’t pick the tank mates carefully for these fish, you can encounter problems. You might have made some bad choices.
Even if the fish didn’t eat your otos alive, they might have eaten them once they died. Your otos could have died in the tank, and you didn’t notice.
If you have omnivorous or carnivorous fish in the tank, it’s likely that they will eat dead fish. Otos have been known to die in tanks when they become stressed.
Sometimes these fish will even starve to death if they don’t get enough algae. Consider whether it’s possible that your otos could have died without you noticing one way or another.
Protect Your Otos
Protect your otos by making good choices. You need to make sure that you give them an environment where they can thrive.
These fish are great community tank members, but you have to put them with compatible tank mates. There are many excellent options to choose from, such as dwarf gouramis, neon tetras, rasboras, and cory catfish.
Also, you want to make sure that you’re keeping otos in large enough numbers. These are shoaling fish that must be kept in groups of six or more in fish tanks.
If you bought fewer than six otos for the tank, they might have become stressed and died. They don’t do well in groups that are too small, and they certainly can’t be kept alone.
Many say that it’s best to keep them in groups of ten to fifteen. Six otos will be fine in a tank, but you need to keep them in a nice planted aquarium where they will feel comfortable.
Perhaps you didn’t set the tank up right, and they got sick. Figure out if you made any mistakes so that you can do better the next time you buy these fish.
If your otos disappeared in your fish tank, it’s likely that they’re hiding. These fish like to hide among the aquatic plants in the tank.
Look closely near the plants to see if you can spot the otos. You might also find them hiding near rocks or inside little caves in the fish tank.
If the fish aren’t hiding, you’ll need to consider whether they have died. They might have died and then been eaten by other fish in the tank.
Sometimes people make mistakes and put otos in tanks with fish that will eat them alive. You shouldn’t put otos in community tanks with aggressive fish that are large enough to eat them.
Use the information above to determine what happened. Hopefully, your fish will be fine, and you’ll find them hiding near the plants.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.