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Corys or Otos?

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On 5/11/2022 at 11:10 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I think @Odd Duck was refering to my Oto journal earlier here:

The Accidental Oto Keeper

But I do know you @Henry the fish keeper have at least read a few posts there. So don't get me wrong- there are a LOT of Cory lovers here and I do like them a lot (haven't kept any in this 2.0 fishkeeper version *yet* but I loved my single albino corycat when I was a kid)- Otos is where my heart lies when it comes to freshwater aquariums. However- they are not for the faint of heart because your heart will get broken and you will have losses it's just the nature of the wild caught fish in the industry- Otos more than others because they do go through a lot to get to us and require a special tank and they are tricky to get to eat commercial food. When you DO get them to thrive in your tanks they are one of the most rewarding fish you can ever keep. 

Yes, I guess I failed completely to put the link in.  🤦🏻‍♀️ 

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Corys in a 10 g definitely go with a pygmy species - pygmaeus, habrosus, hastatus and as far as availablity online you can find them with aquahuna, aqua-imports, aquatic arts and on aquabid. You could have 6-10 pygmys in a 10 g. Feeding should be high protein foods in addition to flake, pellets and freeze dried foods if you want to breed them some frozen and or live worms are ideal. I think pandas will get too big, I have some pushing 2 " long and females almost an 1" wide they get "Thicc" as MD says on his YT channel. The advantages of larger groups and pygmy species is that they tend to be very exuberant, they'll use all levels of the tank, and even school with other groups of schooling nano fish - mine hung with a group of ember tetras. 

You've heard from some of the site experts on Otos. As a newer fishkeeper this is an intermediate to advanced undertaking. You'll need to keep your lights on longer to get the amount of algae you need. This will open things up to some of the less enjoyed things in the hobby like string and black beard algaes etc. I have come to accept this in the setting of my display, I dedicate an hour or so a week to dealing with this to provide enough of what my otos need but for some this is a no go. 

In general moving on to bottom dwellers and "clean up crew" (and I use this term very loosely and is basically to some it's a pejorative term) is part of the hobby and a good inclination on your part. It is fun and rewarding as you can see from the passion from the posters above. We see a lot of folks make mistakes with these fish and we all want you to succeed and enjoy them because they are wonderful. 

Have fun!


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On 5/11/2022 at 3:18 PM, Odd Duck said:

They are constantly mouthing things.  They are eating when they’re doing that.  There is biofilm everywhere in a tank except very freshly cleaned glass.  Biofilm is only visible to the naked eye when it’s in great abundance.  Visible masses of biofilm may not be to their liking, just like when the algae gets too old.

I understand that. I have just never seen them rasping at any surfaces in my tanks that don't have visible algae. They cling to all sorts of surfaces. Mine just only appear to rasp at algae covered surfaces.

I'm sure there are species variations that differ in diet. Some may prefer plain biofilm. But, mine appear to prefer algae or at least algae rich periphyton and plant based foods. Not sure which I have, but I think they're probably just common vittatus or macrosiplus.

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I have never kept otos but I have kept corydoras. I have some julii corydoras (AKA false julii corydoras) and they are great fish. But since it is only a ten gallon you should probaly get some pygmy corries. They are super cute little fish that can easily go inside a ten gallon. 

Good Luck!!!

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On 5/20/2022 at 2:56 PM, da_Fishylover said:

I have some julii corydoras (AKA false julii corydoras)

Just to clarify, those are 2 different, but very similar species and I believe they will hybridize if kept in the same tank so it’s no wonder there’s a lot of confusion about them.  Julii cories are Corydoras julii and false juliis are Corydoras trilineatus.  Closely related and quite difficult to tell apart.  The only way I can tell is that trilineatus have squiggly lines on their faces instead of the more dotted pattern of julii.  I have also read there is a more dotted form of trilineatus.  🤷🏻‍♀️   Trilineatus is also supposed to have a more solid line along their side than julii but I find that more difficult to be certain.  Julii is supposed to be less common in the hobby, but I see them both fairly regularly in my lfs.

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A couple of comments; though most of this has been covered:

If cory in a 10 I would only consider pygmy and at last 6 and no more than 12.

If oto the the aquarium should be well established - setup and running for several months. Also oto are generally more fragile initially - once eastablished in the tank they seem to be fairly hearty. However if you are buying them you should make sure they have been in the store at least 2 weeks - 4 is better. This helps weed out the 'weak' or 'dying' ones. If ordering via mail - you need to order a few extra and expect that a few will die. 

In general panda cory can have a high mortality rate due to heavy inbreeding. This is not a given and depends on the store source but frequently they are raised in masses in farms due to their popularity.

There is no 'better' you should pick the fish that most interest you but generally speaking as the major inhabitant of an aquairum oto will be less interesting or amusing. pymgy cory have a lot of amusing behavior in a reasonable size group as they like to 'school' when moving across the tank. They will also take advantage of more of the water - most cory spend 90% of their time on the bottom and this is not as true with pygmy. They also tend to be more active than other cory.


Generally speaking cory and oto are soft water fishes. This is more true if the fishes are wild caught with is frequently the case for oto and pygmy - something to consider if your water is hard.

Edited by anewbie
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