Otocinclus vittatus

The Otocinclus vittatus lives in the clear and current-rich waters of South America. They are very pretty fish with a special shape and body pattern. They need normal care and should only be kept by beginners with good basic knowledge.

What distinguishes Ohrgitter Loricariid Catfish?

They are peaceful and sociable, small catfish. They prefer to stay on the ground or can be observed grazing algae on objects, plants or on the aquarium glass. Other conspecifics, however, prefer to swim in the water current.

Otocinclus live best in a loose group of at least 5 conspecifics. However, they like to feed on growth.

The appearance of Otocinclus vittatus

Ohrgitter Harnischwels
Rainer Schmitt, 2004, Otocinclus macrospilus 2, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Otocinclus vittatus got their name because of the grid-like hind temporal bone. Their body height is between 3 and 5 cm. The shape is elongated, tapers to the mouth and is slightly flattened at the front. The sucking mouth is underneath.

The body colour of the Otocinclus is dark in the upper part and light in the lower part. It is mostly silvery – greyish to black patterned. In the lateral middle a dark longitudinal stripe is visible. The tail style is almost rectangular shaped and the caudal fin is strong and only slightly split.

Housing conditions at a glance:

  • At least 5 animals in one tank
  • 5 to 8 ear-grid-catfish need at least one 112 to 200 litre aquarium
  • an initial stocking
  • Clean, oxygen-rich, low-nitrate and low-nitrite water
  • Herbivore and prefers algae growth
  • Also community pools with other peaceful, small inhabitants

Gender differences

The gender differences are difficult to recognize in the ear-grids loricariid catfish. Only the females are somewhat larger and fuller than the males.

Water values for Ohrgitter Loricariid Catfish

The fish only tolerate water with low nitrate and nitrite levelsandnot too high temperatures. They feel much more comfortable in soft water than in hard water.

  • Temperature: 21 to 25° C
  • pH value: 5.5 to 7.5
  • Total hardness: 4 to 10° dGH
  • Carbonate hardness: 5 dKH

Furthermore, Otocinclus only remain permanently healthy in fresh and oxygen-rich water.

Food and nutrition for Otocinclus vittatus

The catfish are limnivorous and have a predominantly vegetable diet. They particularly like to graze algae. In addition, they should always find a certain amount of fibre in their food, such as a bog root from real wood. Foliage is also a good source of fibre.

  • Flat green algae coverings
  • Blanched or dried vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, pakrika, peas, pumpkin
  • Blanched spinach, nettle, dandelion
  • Autumn leaves
  • Also live food
]Sufficiently nourished otocinclus form a small belly ball

The ideal aquarium for Otocinclus vittatus

The Loricariid catfish should not be used as first stocking, as they are susceptible to stress and to nitrate and nitrite. They need at least 5 conspecifics in the tank.

The right tank is large and spacious. The fish prefer to stay in the lower part of the tank, therefore the bottom gravel must not be coarse and sharp-edged. A dark gravel with a grain size of 1 to 3 mm is recommended.

Important is a dense border planting of large-leaved plants as well as numerous roots, wood or stone towers. They serve to hide and graze the algae.

Otocinclus vittatus can draw oxygen from the air if necessary. If they appear frequently at the water surface, there is oxygen deficiency! A clean water quality with powerful current and circulation pump promotes the oxygen content.

The socialization succeeds with armored catfish, characins, dwarf shrimps, peaceful snails and mussels.

Under species-appropriate conditions they can live for at least 5 years.

Special features of Ohrgitter Loricariid Catfish

The fish are very bottom-dwelling and are sensitive to being moved to another habitat. With good treatment and with a lot of patience Otis can become tame by hand and can be fed.

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