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The Mighty Oto


I am a fish keeper, for those of you who do not know. There is this large tank in my dining room that has been waiting for a woodworking project to be completed so that the tank can finally be set up. I will get it set up eventually, but in the meantime, I have a couple small tanks. In my five gallon tank, I have five fish. There are three cherry barbs, and two otocinclus. Otocinclus are often referred to by the short name "oto" and it was one of my otos that had a little adventure the other day.

It was time to clean the aquarium. For some time, I had seen only one of the otos. So, in the process of doing a thorough cleaning, I removed the fake rock/cave structure from the aquarium. I had actually assumed that the other oto was hiding in the cave, but when I pulled out the cave and set it on a towel, I could still only find one oto.

I continued to look carefully for the other oto for a couple minutes, but could not find it. Fish sometimes jump their tanks, and sometimes they die before you realize it and they can "break down" in the water and thus simply disappear. I was left to assume that this is what had happened to the poor fish. So, I returned to cleaning and getting everything put back in as it was.

Then I thought, surely I would have spotted some remains of this fish. It would be very unlikely for this type of fish to jump out of the tank. Where could it be? It suddenly occurred to me about seven minutes after I had pulled the cave out of the tank that I had not flipped the cave over and looked inside of it for the fish. After all, these guys are a sort of sucker fish and stick to things with their mouths. Still the fish was not in the cave! I looked on the towel the cave had been sitting on and noticed a little fold in the towel. I pulled the fold open, and there twitching very slowly was my poor otocinclus. I quickly scooped it up in my hand and dropped it back in the tank. It swam down on top of the bridge decoration and sat there. I observed it periodically for several hours afterwards. Though it was breathing rapidly, it was some time before it finally moved off the bridge and back into hiding, but it did survive through probably its biggest adventure ever.

The picture above is one of my otos, though I cannot tell if it is the one that "escaped." They are neat little fish and if you want to learn more try here or at the Wikipedia article here. I believe mine are actually of the affinis variety.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 17, 2007 7:27 AM.

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