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otocinclus and hard water and high ph?

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I live in a hard water state and keep Otocinclus successfully. I’m waiting to get my aquarium coop test strips, so I can give you more accurate parameters later, but my pH is about 8.2-8.6 depending on the time of year. 
It is definitely doable to keep Otocinclus in hard water. Cory talks about how fish can handle a certain number of stressors at a time. So as long as you do your best to avoid putting them with aggressive tank mates, keeping nitrates low, the right temp, and feeding lots of quality food, there shouldn’t be a huge problem. What I was concerned about with Oto cats is that many of them come in starved, and never start eating. So here are my tips:

1) Find the healthiest Oto cats you can, they should have little round bellies and not sunken in. Ask the store employees if they’ve been eating, if they are, your chances are good.

2) For the quarantine tank, set it up a couple weeks before you get the Oto cats. Grow some algae on the walls or decor of the tank, or throw in some algae infested decor/plants. What you should do is give them some algae to graze on while they are in QT. 

3) Feed them up super well! As long as they are eating, you can keep them going (even breeding in my case). I feed them Xtreme Algae Wafers, Hikari Algae Wafers, Zucchini, and Green Beans. You will probably have to keep supplementing/feeding them since they will scrub your main displays clean of diatoms in a matter of days. 

4) Keep them in planted tanks. Plants will take in Calcium and other minerals, dropping the pH slightly but more importantly, taking up nitrogenous wastes in the tank.

Edited by AnimalNerd98
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