Fix for Oto stuck in ADF's mouth!

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Kedeen

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Hi All,

We know this is not a question - but we wanted to make sure others know about this possible solution.

This morning we noticed our ADF had an Oto stuck in its mouth. We tried all the following to get it out to no avail:
pulling the fish and frog gently, leaving them alone for 12 hours, gently pressing the sides of the ADF mouth, trying to tempt the Oto to let go to eat his favorite cooked zucchini, trying to feed the ADF worms. Putting them in a shallow bowl of water. We did not want to hurt either of them or sacrifice one for the other.

So, we read that otos use their sucker mouth to suck and hold on to the frogs bottom jaw. So we found a stiff leaf and while one person held the pair on their backs, and inserted the leaf gently between the otos sucker mouth and the frog's jaw, the other person gently gripping the tail of the Oto pulled gently. And when the leaf broke the suction, the fish came free!!! Our ADF's mouth is gaping like other's have said and we hope she recuperates. The Otos eyes are very red.. we think the ADF was scratching at the fish to get it out. The oto swam very quickly to the bottom of the tank.

This was only 20 min ago, but they are both alive. They both look pretty beat up. Here is a pic of what it looked like with the two stuck together and a picture of the leaf we used.

Good luck to anyone else that has this happen! Super stressful!!!
 

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Mar1111

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I can't even imagine! Hopefully they will avoid each other and heal.
 
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cdianne

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I hope everyone regains their health. Definitely grateful to have your solution posted for others who may come across this unfortunate occurrence. I'm glad there were two of you to problem solve the release.

Thanks for sharing.
 
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Kedeen

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This morning they are both still looking a little under the weather, the oto more so than the frog. To be fair, he did spend 12+ hours with his head inside someone else's mouth though. The frog's mouth is healing pretty fast, it's almost closed but she's still hiding and we haven't tried feeding her yet. If anyone has a recommendation for when I should start feeding her again that would be great :). The oto's face is really red, especially on the underside around his sucker and around his eyes. This morning he is laying sideways between mopani wood and a moss clump. He looks like he's breathing really fast which isn't good, but I don't think there's anything I can really do about that. Maybe he's still just scared? I wouldn't blame him. Would cleaning the tank be a good idea or would it just stress them out even more?
 
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cdianne

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No expert,
Otos are sensitive.
When was the last wc?
If recent, I’d leave him alone. Keep the lights off/low. Try to make the environment as calm as possible.
Are the tank mates still together?
Perhaps creating some type of separation if possible.

Perhaps put in an aquarium additive for healing like stressguard or cattapa leaves, etc. maybe even add an air stone to help with breathing but not so strong as to cause a current which impacts the Otos stability.
 
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Kedeen

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The last wc was about a week and a half ago. It is a 10 gallon tank with 3 otos and 3 adfs and I usually change about 50% of the water every 2 weeks. I haven't separated them because I really doubt it will happen again and I don't really have a way to separate them. I think the water is okay because the other two otos look happy. Thanks for the light idea!

He is a little happier now, not laying on the moss but attached to the wood, still breathing pretty fast though
 
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cdianne

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Is the tank [heavily] planted? If possible for your scheduling, smaller weekly changes may be less stressful.

While the incident may not happen again, if the visual of the frog may cause increase stress; think predator-prey recognition.

These are really suggestions simply to decrease the stress as much as possible. Perhaps even increasing vegetation to create line breaks between tank members.

Hope everyone heals up and breathes more slowly.
 
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Kedeen

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There are 4 plants in the tank, a piece of wood, and 2 little moss circles. The plants aren't well established yet because although the tank is 3 years old, I re-aquascaped 2 months ago including a gravel change. The plants aren't very close to each other and though they're tall, they don't provide very much cover. I'm trying to find something that would provide a good hiding place and still look okay. I can definitely do smaller water changes, maybe 25% a week
 
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mimo91088

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I'm amazed that frog tried to eat that oto. Even more amazed that he actually caught it.
 
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MacZ

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Otos need extremely low nitrate levels below 10mg/l. 50% WC a week are absolutely necessary. Otherwise the tank sounds like it's all but suitable for Otos. And I think it got stuck because when the frog tried to eat it (seems hungry) the little hooks and hairs on the Oto's skin worked like barbs.

Definitely do big volume waterchanges (only water, no cleaning) daily for some days and use catappa to support the healing process. Otherwise there is nothing to do.
 
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mimo91088

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MacZ said:
Otos need extremely low nitrate levels below 10mg/l. 50% WC a week are absolutely necessary. Otherwise the tank sounds like it's all but suitable for Otos. And I think it got stuck because when the frog tried to eat it (seems hungry) the little hooks and hairs on the Oto's skin worked like barbs.

Definitely do big volume waterchanges (only water, no cleaning) daily for some days and use catappa to support the healing process. Otherwise there is nothing to do.
You'd be surprised what some of them can handle. I thought my colony died off along time ago but I recently did a massive plant trim and found at least three still alive. They hung in even though I've been breeding livebearers in this tank for quite awhile and the nitrates have literally gone off the charts if I get depressed and don't change water for a few weeks. Not to mention I never target fed them since I didn't think they were alive.

I think people misunderstand otos and think they're more fragile than they really are. In my opinion once you have an established colony they're pretty hardy. They do however have a few things going against them that lead to the negative misconception.
A: Almost all otos are wild caught. And by much more stressful means than most fish. Many die off simply due to this. For every 5 otos you buy, 3-4 or even 5 might die on you.
B: Once you get these survivors, only some of them will ever take to artificial food. They'll eat through the algae and biofilm and starve off. You might lose half the fish.
C: They really need a well seasoned aquarium with a stable ecosystem. Planted tank with snails up and running for at least a year.

By the end of all this, you might need to buy 50 otos to get a good group of 10 going. But once you've got that good group strong and healthy, they're pretty resilient little fish.
 
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Kjeldsen

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Wow. Thanks for posting this. The adf's suction is such that letting go is difficult. When two get on the same worm it's no holds barred, so it could have been worse if another went for the Oto's other end! Hope everyone recovers.
 
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Kedeen

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I've been feeding mine zucchini, is there anything else they might eat? One really likes it but the other two don't seem to as much
 
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MacZ

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mimo91088 said:
You'd be surprised what some of them can handle. I thought my colony died off along time ago but I recently did a massive plant trim and found at least three still alive. They hung in even though I've been breeding livebearers in this tank for quite awhile and the nitrates have literally gone off the charts if I get depressed and don't change water for a few weeks. Not to mention I never target fed them since I didn't think they were alive.

I think people misunderstand otos and think they're more fragile than they really are. In my opinion once you have an established colony they're pretty hardy. They do however have a few things going against them that lead to the negative misconception.
A: Almost all otos are wild caught. And by much more stressful means than most fish. Many die off simply due to this. For every 5 otos you buy, 3-4 or even 5 might die on you.
B: Once you get these survivors, only some of them will ever take to artificial food. They'll eat through the algae and biofilm and starve off. You might lose half the fish.
C: They really need a well seasoned aquarium with a stable ecosystem. Planted tank with snails up and running for at least a year.

By the end of all this, you might need to buy 50 otos to get a good group of 10 going. But once you've got that good group strong and healthy, they're pretty resilient little fish.
Yeah... in a certain number there are always some individuals that will make it. I know the problems with wild caught otos (starvation is one of the main factors) and with supplementary feeding, I basically write all of this most of the times it comes up again, too. And that the tank should be running at least 6 months, even better a year before getting Otos. You forgot to mention the often highly resilient parasites the wild caughts have.

BUT: Buying 50 fish for 10 that survive is the reason I tell people to buy tank raised or none at all. Calculate: That means for every 100 that stay alive in captivity 500 have to die. And so on. For a fish that is mainly wild caught this is high. Even Cardinal tetras have better survival rates. You're undermining your own point.

Kedeen said:
I've been feeding mine zucchini, is there anything else they might eat? One really likes it but the other two don't seem to as much
Cucumber, Lettuce, spinach, mine back then went for brokkoli, too. Offer them something meaty that's easy to chew sometimes, they are in contrast to popular belief not strictly vegetarian. But no pronounced meat eaters either.
 
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