Care Level: Moderate
Live Plant Safe: Yes
General Description: The Zebra Otocinclus Catfish,or Zebra Oto for short, also referred to as the Tiger Oto, is a species that was only recently described in the early 2000s. Restricted to Peru in South America, here the Zebra oto occurs in densely vegetated and slow-moving waters. The base of its body is tan colored, while it has a dark pattern of stripes. A popular fish for nano aquariums, Zebra otos are extremely peaceful and reach an adult size of approximately 2″ making them a great alternative to larger species of algae eaters. Though small, they are mighty when it comes to controlling nuisance algae growth! While Zebra otos are relatively easy to care for once established, they do best when above average water parameters are maintained. Zebra otos are very social, preferring to be kept in groups of 4 or more individuals. There are little differences between male and female Zebra otos. Note: Our Zebra otos are put on a brief observational hold after we receive them to ensure they’re healthy from importation.
Diet Requirements: In the wild Zebra otos are herbivores. A diet made up of various high quality vegetable based flake foods, sinking pellet foods and algae wafers (occasional) are ideal. Offering blanched pieces of zucchini and cucumber, or raw romaine lettuce, would be an excellent treat for these algae eaters. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish. Zebra otos may scavenge on some protein based foods; offering Spirulina enriched frozen foods may be desirable.
Care Requirements: A very established minimum 15 gallon aquarium is ideal for a small group of Zebra otos. This size aquarium ensures that there is enough natural food to go around for all and it also provides more stable water parameters, a key ingredient to successfully keeping this species. Zebra otos should never be introduced into a biologically immature aquarium, as they are intolerable of nitrite or ammonia. Weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard for Zebra otos (Nitrates < 20 ppm). Given their natural habitat of living in slow moving waters, Zebra otos do not like excessively turbulent water. The aquarium should be aquascaped with rocks and driftwood for coverage and places to hide, in addition to generous vegetation (artificial or live). Zebra otos require a sandy to fine substrate; too coarse of a substrate could cause injury. While Zebra otos are herbivores, they will not harm or eat your live plants. You may notice Zebra otos on your plants, but rest assured they are only cleaning algae or biofilm off of them. Given their size and temperament, Zebra otos rarely conflict with other fish but can be easily bullied by more semi-aggressive species. Choose tank mates accordingly, and ensure that the Zebra oto will not be eaten. Recommended water conditions, 76-80° F, KH 4-10, pH 6.0-7.5.
Purchase Size: Medium: 3/4” to 1-1/4”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.