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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an oto cat dead in my tank today. I noticed its belly was a lot bigger than the others. I had noticed it when he was swimming around and just thought he ate more than the others or something. I had 3 and just added 3 more yesterday so I am guessing it was most likely and new one. I figure it just got stressed or something and died from the changing tanks but I wondered if the bloated stomach could mean it had a disease that I need to watch for in the other ones?

Let me know. Thanks!

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Otocinclus are notoriously fragile during their first 30 days and could die from many causes. The treatment they receive during their capture (they are not bred in captivity) and a lot of the time in the stores by those who do not know how to properly care for them or care to do it if they do know can be brutal. They are caught by flooding the river or stream that they are in with cyanide gas to slow them down and half of them die just from that experience. Then half of those die from the effects of the capture before they hit the stores. Then about 75% or more of those will succumb to the inability to eat the food that they are given as the stores will sometimes just put in "fish foods" and not take into consideration that these guys eat algae, brown algae in particular and they would croak rather than let any algae in the tanks. So if they put some flake food in the tank they figure they have fed the fish. So these cute little darlings starve sometimes. Sometimes bloating will look like they are "well fed" when in actuality it is the last stages of illness. I think you got a little one who was in the last stages of his/her life and it finally took it out. Sorry and I hope that the fish had a return for cash guarantee with it for a period of days that you can get your money back. I am not too sure I would buy more fish from whereever the fish came from if their fish are in that poor a condition.

Just a quick bit of advice. Due to their fragility and the possibility of disease with them sometimes it is always a good idea to quarantine them for at least 30 days when you want to add them to an established tank. Please do watch the fish you have in this tank for possible complications.

There are things to look for in the way of a really healthy Otocinclus to help keep this from happening:

A White belly
A little bit of roundness in the belly but no bloating and NO sunken bellies
A clear looking eye, no cloudiness
The stripe on the fish's side should be clearly visible not hazy

Any of the above signs being absent will mean that the fish has a problem. I have accepted fish with a small amount of pinkish tinge on their bellies and been fine but redness NEVER there is a difference in pink and the HOT pink that means fever or red that can be a sign of real infection. Sunken bellies means starvation and those fish can be fed a ton of food and they have lost the ability to digest the food and will die of starvation no matter how much they are fed. The bacteria in their stomachs have died due to lack of food and will never return and they need it to digest their food. It is a death sentence. They should be mercifully put to death painlessly. I have purchased those poor fish to euthanize them.

If you want to know a lot more about Otocinclus cats they have their own website. It is at: - Home of the Dwarf Suckermouth Catfishes

Thank you for the question. Perhaps it will help others too.

I am so sorry that you lost your fish.

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