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Otocinclus cocama 'zebra otocinclus' (Zebra Otocinclus)

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Otocinclus are among the smallest members of the Loricariidae family. The Zebra Otocinclus does turn up now and then at fish shops and is undoubtedly one of the prettiest of the Otocinclus. Otocinclus in general can be delicate, especially during the first few weeks of ownership when it pays to devote special attention to them. Experience of these fish suggests that they need to be acclimatised carefully once you have got them home from the shop. They can be a little frail to start with and if you have an available tank that you can devote solely to them it will give your fish a good start and time to build up reserves before adding them to your main tank. They will thrive on frozen bloodworm, brineshrimp, and over time will even nibble at flake food. They are excellent algae eaters and will make short work of soft algae in a tank. These fish are sociable, peaceful fish and should be kept in a group whenever possible. A broad guideline is to keep around two fish for every 10 gallons which should be sufficient to keep your tank sparkling clean. Every now and then a vegetable that has been boiled for around two minutes and then soaked in some aquarium water prior to adding to the tank makes an excellent treat for these fish, especially a slice of cucumber(with the skin left on).

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Otocinclus should only be kept in a well established tank with plenty of plant matter. They are very peaceful fish which should be kept in a group. Water conditions should be very good indeed and there should be no detectable traces of ammonia or nitrite in your tank and almost as importantly, nitrates should be kept very low. High nitrates over a reasonable period of time will eventually result in the premature death of these fish.

There are no reports of this fish having been bred in aquarium conditions, although breeding of some otocinclus has taken place and any attempt should be with several fish kept in optimum water conditions and fed on a varied diet. Sexing the fish can be difficult, but in general the females are more fuller bodied than the males. The fish will lay eggs on plants and sometimes other surfaces in the tank. Given the size of these fish they will require tiny fry food and it will help if the tank has plenty of algae available.

Family Group: Catfish
Distribution Peru, South America
Temperature 22-26C
Size Around 4cm
Water Parameters Prefers soft and slightly acidic to around neutral
Water PH 6.0-7.2