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Spotlight on the Otocinclus Catfish
Also known as oto cats, otocinclus catfish are some of the smallest aquarium fish out there and also some of the best algae eaters. Read on to learn more about them!

You may know of them as oto cats, but the full name is Ocotinclus. Otocinclus are a genus of catfish native to South America and some species are quite common in the aquarium hobby. These catfish are known for eating algae and for being much smaller than some of the other more popular algae-eating species of fish. They are, however, a little bit tricky to keep.

The otocinclus may be small, but it is a powerful algae eater and an all-around friendly addition to the community tank. Read on to learn more about this small but mighty species.

Basic Facts on the Ocotinclus

The name Otocinclus applies to an entire genus of catfish belonging to the family Loricariidae. These fish are native to South America where they are commonly found in small to medium-sized streams with moderate water flow. They tend to spend their time in areas of marginal vegetation, particularly among grasses with plants with small leaves, but can also be seen in shoals swimming in open water.

Scientists have identified around 20 species of Ocotinclus, though some are more common in the aquarium trade than others. Here is a list of those species:

  • Otocinclus affinis
  • Otocinclus arnoldi
  • Otocinclus batmani
  • Otocinclus bororo
  • Otocinclus caxarari
  • Otocinclus cocama
  • Otocinclus flexilis
  • Otocinclus hoppei
  • Otocinclus huaorani
  • Otocinclus juruenae
  • Otocinclus macrospilus
  • Otocinclus mangaba
  • Otocinclus mariae
  • Otocinclus mimulus
  • Otocinclus mura
  • Otocinclus tapirape
  • Otocinclus vestitus
  • Otocinclus vittatus
  • Otocinclus xakriaba
 

Otocinclus catfish are also known as oto cats, though some species have their own names. Two of the most common species in the aquarium trade are Otocinclus vittatus and Otocinclus macrospilus. Otocinclus cocama is...

What Are GloFish and How Do You Care for Them?
If you've ever seen those fluorescent fish at your local pet store and wondered what they are, you'll learn everything you want to know in this article. Read on!

You’ve seen them at the pet store – those fluorescent-colored fish that look strikingly familiar. They’re called GloFish and there’s a reason they look familiar. They’re nothing more than common species genetically modified for their fluorescent color. Contrary to common misconceptions, they are not injected with dye or artificially colored. They actually inherit their color genetically from their parents, though there is certainly some human intervention involved.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect way to add some intrigue to your tank, GloFish might just be the solution. Read on to learn more about these amazing fish and how to care for them.

What Are GloFish, Anyway?

If you’ve never seen GloFish before, the name alone is enough to conjure up an accurate image. These are simply aquarium fish (freshwater species) that have inherited a brilliant fluorescent coloration. GloFish can be found in all colors of the rainbow including red, orange, green, blue, pink, and purple. Of course, each color has its own branded name:

1. Starfire Red

2. Electric Green

3. Sunburst Orange

4. Cosmic Blue

5. Galactic Purple

6. Moonrise Pink

Though GloFish look unnatural compared to most aquarium fish, the characteristic that makes them glow is actually very natural – it’s called bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is what makes fireflies light up the night sky and it can be seen in a wide variety of underwater creatures. For example, vampire squids native to the deep sea regions excrete a glowing mucus designed to startle predators...

Spotlight on the Apple Snail
Also known as the mystery snail, apple snails are a popular addition to the freshwater tank. Read on to learn more about common species and their care.

Keeping the water quality in your aquarium is one of your most important responsibilities as an aquarium hobbyist. Your fish require clean, clear water and that means removing detritus from the tank before it can negatively affect your water quality. Rather than performing daily water changes, consider adding a cleanup crew to your tank to do the work for you – apple snails are a great choice.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the apple snail and its role in the home aquarium. We’ll explore some of the more popular species and provide tips for how to care for them.

The Basics About Apple Snails

The apple snail is the largest freshwater snail species and a popular addition to the home aquarium. Unlike pond snails which are a nuisance, apple snails are welcomed by aquarium hobbyists for their scavenging habits. Often included in an aquarium cleanup crew, apple snails feed on algae and other detritus in the aquarium, helping to keep the tank clean.

Though apple snail is the most common name, these freshwater snails are also known as mystery snails. They belong to the family Ampullariidae in the class Gastropoda. The snails in this family are unique because they have a lung and a gill, so their mantle cavity is divided to separate these two respiratory structures. To put it more simply, apple snails have unique anatomical adaptations which allows them to be amphibious – they can live both on land and in water.

Apple snails...

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