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Maximum size : 5 cm

Tiger Otocinclus - Otocinclus cocama : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Tiger Otocinclus (Otocinclus cocama) is one of the smallest Catfish species, renowned for its voracious appetite for algae. However, this fish species is a peaceful, sociable, and attractive addition to any freshwater aquarium, making them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. When creating a suitable habitat for these fish, ensuring good water movement, adequate filtration, and moderate aeration is essential. Tiger Otocinclus thrive in densely planted community aquariums equipped with driftwood or rocks to provide ample hiding places from other fish species. Adding dried leaf litter can also be beneficial as the fish graze on them as they decompose. Although these fish get along well with other species, their small size and timid nature make them unsuitable for community aquariums. Instead, keeping them in a species-only tank is best, ideally in small groups of at least eight individuals or with other small, non-aggressive fish or freshwater shrimp. The Tiger Otocinclus possesses a simple cylindrical body shape that tapers towards the head and caudal fin, featuring a distinctive suckermouth and an armoured body. It is distinguished from other genus members by its brown and white vertical stripe-like blotches, complete lateral line, and the "W" mark on its caudal fin. Interestingly, the Tiger Oto boasts more teeth than any other Otocinclus species, adding to its unique physical characteristics. In summary, the Tiger Otocinclus is a captivating and alluring fish species that can add a touch of uniqueness and elegance to any freshwater aquarium.

Tiger Otocinclus Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual differentiation of Tiger Otocinclus can present a considerable challenge. However, females tend to possess a fuller, more extensive body structure than males. In contrast, males exhibit a conical urogenital papilla located behind the anus, along with a dorsal flap on the unbranched pectoral fin, a feature absent in females. These anatomical distinctions serve as essential indicators for distinguishing between male and female individuals.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameOtocinclus cocama
Year Described2004
Other NamesZebra Oto, Tiger Oto, Zebra Otocinclus
Max Size5 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan5 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH4 - 10
TDS36 - 179
70 - 79
21.1 - 26.1

Natural habitat

The Tiger Otocinclus is a captivating species found in the Ucayali River and possibly in the Marañón River in Peru, situated within the breathtaking landscapes of South America. These fish exhibit a preference for inhabiting slow-flowing, medium-sized creeks and ponds featuring crystal-clear water, often congregating in vast numbers amongst marginal vegetation in the upper regions of the water column near the water 's surface. Their conspicuous presence in these areas adds to their charm, making them a delightful species to observe and study.
 Ucayali River - Peru
Peru Flag
 Marañón River - Peru
Peru Flag

How to breed the Tiger Otocinclus

While successful breeding of the Tiger Otocinclus has been documented, there is currently a paucity of information available regarding its propagation. The fry produced during breeding is believed to be incredibly small, necessitating an abundant supply of algae and other green matter to support their growth and development.

Diet & feeding

It is imperative to ensure an adequate supply of common green algae or brown algae or a well-established biofilm on leaves, plant surfaces, and other aquarium structures upon introducing Tiger Otocinclus to a new aquarium environment. Failing to do so may result in the fish starving due to insufficient food sources. Once acclimated, Tiger Otocinclus will readily consume sinking foods such as algae wafers, kelp tablets, sinking pellets, and spirulina wafers. Furthermore, the occasional provision of blanched vegetables, such as spinach, cucumber, and zucchini, may prove beneficial for the fish 's dietary needs. While Tiger Otocinclus can tolerate other types of food, it is crucial to note that their diet should not lack sufficient vegetable matter. Providing a varied and balanced diet is essential for their overall health and well-being.

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