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Subject: Otos and CAE's

Hello all,

Re the recent discussion on otocinclus, it may be worth pointing out that
there are some 20 species in this genus, varying in adult length from about
1" to 2 1/2". Colors and patterns also vary considerably, from bright orange
to mottled black and white.

In addition to the genus Otocinclus, fish from several closely related
genera are all sold under the trade name "oto." These genera include
Parotocinclus, Hypoptopoma and Microlepidogaster. Altogether, there are some
100+ species in these genera. Admittedly, only about a dozen or so are
regularly seen in the trade, with O. vestitus and O. vittatus being the two
most common. These two do indeed generally conform to Karen Randall's
description below.

But just as ot can be misleading to talk about "Amazon swords" as if they
were the one or two Echinodorus species commonly seen at your LFS, so too
should it be recognized that "otos" are a diverse and interesting group to
whom we do a disservice in equating with one or two common species.

Merry Christmas and a fishy New Year!


>> Most of the information is about identifying SAE apart from the false SAE.
>> But how about CAE and ottos?  I can't find a real picture of CAE.  All I
>> found are handdrawn pictures.  And it does looks like an otto.
>> I've asked a few FS and all of them said they are known as algae-eater.
>> Well I guess mine are most likely CAE.  I hope someone can clear this up for
>> me.
> That's probably because Otos and Chinese Algae Eaters don't look anything
> alike.  Otos are tiny catfish, not much more tha an inch or inch 1/2 when
> full grown.  Chinese Algae Eaters, even at their smallest are usually
> bigger, and they get about 6" long and grow quickly.  Even if you are
> comparing BIG Otos and tiny CAE's they are not that similar.  Otos are much
> wider across between the eyes, then taper toward the tail, CAE's viewed
> from above are more torpedo shaped, slender from one end to the other.
> Otos are white to pinkish white below, with a fairly straight deep black
> stripe running the length of the body. (there may be a break in the line
> close to the caudal peduncle)  The dorsal surface is grey or mottled
> black/grey.  Most have some black markings on the tail fin, though the
> shape of these markings varies by species. (there are a few species with
> minor variations, but this fits both of the more common species)  CAE's
> have a golder or browner tone, and the horizontal stripe is zig-zag,
> looking sort of like a zipper.
> Try to find a store that has both in stock and look at them side by side.
> This shouldn't be hard as both fish are easy to come by.  I think when
> you've actually seen both, you will realize that they are really pretty
> easy to tell apart.
> Karen