Keeping otocinclus catfish in your aquarium should be a great experience. These little fish are great algae eaters that are fun to watch.
People love adding them to community fish tanks. They can also be good to care for on their own if you just want to have some peace-loving fish.
You might be worried about your otos if they seem a bit sluggish, though. When your otos aren’t active it’s going to make you wonder if something is wrong.
What does it mean when otocinclus catfish aren’t active? Continue reading to get all of the information that you need to make a good decision.
Are Otocinclus Active Fish?
Otos can certainly be considered active. They’re fish that love swimming around the tank looking for algae.
You’ll often see otos being active during the day. They’re also active during the night, though.
Many people like buying otos because of how active they are compared to other catfish such as bristlenose plecos.
A healthy otocinclus catfish should be very active during the day. It’ll move around in the tank looking to scrape algae off of the surface of the glass.
You’ll also see these fish cleaning algae directly off of aquatic plants and various objects in the tank. It can be a lot of fun to observe otos under normal circumstances.
Why Is My Otocinclus Not Moving?
Are you worried because your otocinclus catfish doesn’t appear to be moving? First, you should consider whether the fish has died.
If the fish is truly motionless, it might be dead. Is the fish breathing?
If you can see the fish breathing, it might be lethargic for another reason. There are several things that could be going on.
Below, you’ll learn about situations that might cause otos to become less active. Knowing about these situations should allow you to take action to change things for the better in the tank.
1 – Stress
Stress is something that can cause otos to stop being as active as they should be. Sometimes when these fish are put in a tank that isn’t meeting their needs, it’ll make them feel very stressed.
There are so many different things that can happen in a tank that will stress these fish. One of the most common problems involves not keeping enough otos in the tank.
Otos are shoaling fish that need to be kept in groups of six or more. If you’re keeping them in a smaller group than that, the fish will get stressed and they might not be as active as they should be.
Another common cause of stress involves overcrowding the fish tank. These fish won’t do well if you shove them into a tank that is too small or if you try to cram too many fish in a community aquarium.
When fish don’t have enough space to feel comfortable, it’s hard for them to maintain normal behavior. You might need to solve this issue to fix things.
Poor water quality can stress otos as well. If you’re not doing regular water changes, your fish might have issues with stress. Do your best to keep up with the tank maintenance so the fish can thrive.
2 – Illness
Illness is something that you need to consider as well. Often, stress will cause these fish to get sick.
When fish are stressed they become more susceptible to illnesses. There are many diseases that otos are known to be susceptible to as well.
Ich is one of the most common illnesses that otos get. This involves white spots forming on the body.
These fish can get various types of parasitic infections and other types of illnesses. Often, otos will become lethargic as a symptom of the disease that they have.
Many fish illnesses can be treated with medications such as antibiotics. Treating the fish will depend on which illness the fish happens to have.
You can turn to an exotic veterinarian for diagnosis and advice if you want to. Or you can take note of any symptoms that the fish has and do your best to diagnose the issue yourself.
It’s best to prevent fish from getting ill in the first place. To prevent fish from getting sick, you should do a good job maintaining the fish tank.
Focus on keeping the water quality where it needs to be while also avoiding situations that will cause the fish stress. So long as you do this, you should be able to keep the fish safe.
3 – Problems With Tank Mates
Problems with tank mates will cause the fish to be far less active. They might stop moving and will choose to hide in the tank.
It’s common for people to put otos in community aquariums. They’re great community fish to own, but this doesn’t mean that they’re compatible with all types of fish.
Otos are so peaceful that they can easily get bullied by aggressive fish. Perhaps you made the mistake of putting them in a fish tank with a fish that is too aggressive.
An aggressive fish might intimidate the otos by bullying them. This will make them want to hide near the plants instead of moving around the tank looking for algae as normal.
Do your best to research tank mates for these fish appropriately. You never want to put otos in a fish tank with incompatible fish.
You can make positive changes to the tank to try to turn things around. If your otos aren’t as active as they should be, there’s a good chance that something is amiss.
It could be something as simple as the water parameters being a little off. Perhaps you haven’t been changing the water often enough or you might not have chosen appropriate tank mates.
Make sure that you do your best to remedy whatever is wrong in the tank. Doing so can help to return things to normal.
Failure to take action might lead to the fish dying. Otos have been known to die when they are significantly stressed, and illnesses can certainly take their lives if they’re not treated in a timely fashion.
Do your best to troubleshoot the situation based on the information above. You should be able to figure out what’s going on so you can get things back to normal in the tank.
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.