Buying otocinclus catfish for your tank will be a good choice. They’re fun fish to own that can be excellent cleaners.
You likely know that these fish are meant to be algae eaters. Does this mean that you don’t have to feed them?
Continue reading to learn about what otocinclus catfish like to eat. This will help you to understand the nutritional needs of these fish.
Do Otocinclus Eat Algae?
Yes, otocinclus do eat algae. One of the most common reasons why people buy these fish is that they want help with keeping the tank clean.
Otos are known to eat algae, and you’ll see them eating it off of the sides of the glass. They’ll also go around cleaning algae off of plants and other objects in the tank.
Algae is a very important part of their diet. You need to feed these fish algae to keep them healthy.
Ensuring that algae keep growing in the tank is imperative when you’re caring for these fish. If there aren’t enough algae in the tank, you can supplement their diet with other foods, though.
Do Otocinclus Eat Algae Wafers?
It’s common for people to feed otos algae wafers as snacks. Sometimes you might choose to feed these fish algae wafers to supplement their diet.
This can be a good choice when you don’t have enough algae growing in the tank. You don’t have to stick to just feeding them algae wafers, but they’ll certainly appreciate them.
Keeping algae wafers around will be a good idea. This will be something that you’ll give to otos from time to time.
Do Otocinclus Eat Hair Algae?
Otocinclus catfish eat algae, but they don’t eat all types of algae. If you have hair algae in your tank, it’s likely that your otos won’t touch the stuff.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that otos ignore hair algae. Most oto owners say that their fish will ignore hair algae unless they’re absolutely starving.
Some do suggest that if the otos are very hungry, they might try to eat the hair algae. However, you shouldn’t count on them eating this type of algae.
Do Otocinclus Eat Black Beard Algae?
Black beard algae, also referred to as black brush algae, is a particularly nasty type of algae. Many types of algae eaters won’t touch it at all.
Otos are no exception. If you’re hoping that your otos will eat black beard algae in your tank, you’re going to be disappointed.
The best fish to buy when looking to get rid of this algae are Siamese Algae Eaters. Otocinclus catfish are better for normal algae eating than they are for the nastier types of algae.
Do Otocinclus Eat Diatoms?
Otocinclus love to eat brown diatoms. When looking for fish that will clean up diatoms, it’s best to turn to otos.
It does take otos quite some time to eat entire patches of brown diatoms, though. These are small fish that can only eat so much at once.
The otos will continue to eat the diatoms until they’re gone. It just might take some time for them to complete the job.
Do Otocinclus Eat Biofilm?
Biofilm is something that otos commonly eat. It’s good for them, and they seem to love eating it.
You can encourage biofilm growth in the tank if you want to. This can be done by adding Indian Almond Leaves to the tank.
Otos seem to enjoy eating biofilm almost as much as they like eating algae. This will be a good addition to their diet.
Are Otocinclus Bottom Feeders?
Yes, otocinclus catfish are bottom-feeding fish that hang out at the bottom portion of the fish tank. They have specialized mouths that allow them to scrape for algae.
They can latch onto surfaces and scrape both algae and biofilm off. This gives them the nutrients that they need to stay healthy.
The way their mouths work is actually quite interesting. It acts like a suction cup and allows them to stay in place while they’re eating the algae.
This makes it easy for them to finish their meals even if they’re living in fast-moving water. Your otos will spend time at the bottom of the tank, but they’ll also scrape the sides of the tank for algae.
What to Feed Otocinclus
The main thing that otocinclus catfish like to eat is algae. Algae will make up the majority of the diet of these fish.
Of course, they’re going to eat more than just algae. It’s also common for them to feed on biofilm in the tank.
You’ll likely need to supplement the diet of the fish to ensure that they’re eating enough. This can be done by giving them algae wafers.
Aside from algae wafers, otos are known to like eating various types of veggies. You can cut fresh veggies up and give them to your otos as supplementary food.
Since the main food will always be algae, it’s important to focus on getting algae to grow in the tank. This involves keeping the tank in a very specific state.
You have to clean the tank to keep the water safe for the otos. However, you don’t want the water to be overly clean, or else algae won’t grow properly.
How to Feed Otocinclus
Feeding otocinclus catfish shouldn’t be tough at all. For the most part, these fish will feed themselves by eating the algae and biofilm that grows in your fish tank.
It’s common for otos to go around and suck the algae and biofilm off of the glass. They’ll also eat algae directly off of aquatic plants, rocks, and other objects in the tank.
Aside from this, you might wind up needing to feed the fish algae wafers or cut veggies from time to time. This can be done by simply dropping the food in the tank.
The algae wafers will sink to the bottom of the tank, and the otos will eat them. If the otos don’t eat the food that you’re giving them, it’s best to remove it so it doesn’t cause water chemistry issues.
You don’t want to leave leftover food debris in the tank. Keep this in mind, and feeding your otos will never be a problem.
When to Feed Otocinclus
You don’t need to feed your otocinclus catfish every single day. These fish go around eating algae and biofilm.
It’s still necessary to supplement the diet, though. You need to make sure that the fish are eating enough and that they’re getting the right nutrients.
Experts say that it’s best to feed your otos every other day. You could also feed them every two or three days if you have a lot of algae in your tank.
When it’s time to feed the fish, you can give them algae wafers or veggies. Some people even give bloodworms to their otos.
It’s likely not necessary to feed the otos more often than twice per week. Some feed these fish three times per week when they’re having issues with keeping enough algae in the tank.
How Often to Feed Otocinclus
How often to feed the fish depends on how much algae is in the tank. Generally, you’re not going to need to feed them more often than twice per week.
If you don’t have a lot of algae that the otos can eat, it might be wise to feed them every other day. This ensures that they will get enough food to stay healthy.
Otos that have enough algae won’t need to be fed supplementary foods too often. It’s good to give them algae wafers and veggies multiple times per week, though.
As long as you’re being a proactive fish tank owner, it should be simple to keep these fish fed. Pay attention to the tank and make sure that your otos are getting enough food.
Can Otocinclus Eat Too Much?
It’s not common for otocinclus catfish to have issues with eating too much. These fish aren’t sensitive when it comes to overeating.
That being said, it’s not good to have overweight fish. When fish weigh too much, it can lead to a variety of different health problems.
If your fish weigh too much, it’s likely that you’re giving them supplementary foods too often. You can try laying off the supplementary foods for a bit to get them back to a healthy weight.
Usually, you won’t have to worry about overfeeding these fish. They will eat algae often and will also happily eat the supplementary foods that you give to them.
What Vegetables Can Otocinclus Eat?
There are many types of veggies that otocinclus catfish like to eat. You can feed them zucchini, cucumber, carrots, and celery.
When feeding otos veggies, it’s best to cut the veggies up properly. Blanched veggies can make great additions to their diets.
They need to be cooked until they’re tender, and then you can cut them into pieces. Drop the pieces of veggies in the tank, and the fish will eat them up.
If the fish don’t eat them, remove them from the tank and throw the veggies away. Generally, otos will love eating cut-up pieces of blanched veggies.
There are so many veggies you can try out. It’s common for people to give these fish lettuce, squash, spinach, and even Brussels sprouts.
Why is My Otocinclus Not Eating?
What should you do if your otocinclus doesn’t appear to be eating? When this happens, it’s usually due to the otos being stressed or sick.
Otos might become stressed if you keep them in tanks that are too small. Generally, it’s best to keep at least six otos in a 10-gallon fish tank or something larger.
Also, otos are shoaling fish that need to be kept in groups of six or more. Keeping them in smaller groups might make them stressed, and they will act funny.
Otos might stop eating if they’re getting bullied by other fish, too. These are peaceful fish, and you need to pick compatible tank mates for them.
Many types of illnesses are known to cause fish to lose their appetites. You might need to check to see if your fish is sick and take the necessary steps to help the fish get better.
Why Is My Otocinclus Not Eating Algae?
Otos should eat algae because it’s the main type of food that they enjoy. However, they don’t eat all types of algae.
Earlier, you learned that they don’t always eat hair algae. They might eat hair algae if they’re hungry enough, but it’s more common for them to eat brown diatoms.
They also don’t seem to eat black beard algae. Tougher algae are the type of stuff that these fish seem to avoid.
Do You Have to Feed Otocinclus?
Yes, it is necessary to supplement the diet of your otos. You need to make sure that they’re being given enough food.
Often, the algae in the tank won’t be quite enough to keep the otos healthy. So you’ll need to give the otos algae wafers and blanched vegetables a few times per week.
How much you’ll need to feed the fish will depend on how much algae is in the tank. If you do a good job of keeping the tank stocked with algae, you won’t need to feed them quite as often.
Even so, it’s necessary to feed otos to keep them healthy. Remember to feed your fish often enough so they can remain in good shape.
How Long Can an Otocinclus Go Without Food?
A healthy adult otocinclus catfish can live for around five to seven days without food. Generally, these fish will eat algae in the tank and will always have some access to food.
However, there can be situations where they won’t have enough algae to eat. These fish might be at risk of starving if you don’t give them supplementary foods.
This is why it’s imperative to feed otos algae wafers and blanched veggies several times per week. It keeps your otos in good shape and makes it so they won’t starve.
You should always endeavor to pay attention to your fish. Be sure that the otos are eating enough, or they won’t live for long in your aquarium.
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.