Best critters for alge control - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Best critters for alge control

Title says it all, what are the best critters (fish, snails, crabs, shrimps, etc) for basic alge control? I don't have a major alge problem, if fact I would say very, very average but I was just wondering how effective really are Alge Eaters or Plecos or snails or crustaceans?
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 04:43 PM
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First thing is that nothing eats all algae, and there are many types of algae. Some of the so-called algae-eating fish get quite large, or need groups and thus impact the bio load. They also take up space, which may or may not be desirable depending. It is usually best to limit algae by controlling the light and to some extent nutrients. In well-planted tanks algae should never be an issue, and if a particular type becomes an issue, light is almost always the culprit. In non-planted tanks, algae is natural and should be seen as a helper since it uses nutrients and releases oxygen, on a much smaller scale but similar to plants.

I like having basic algae-eating fish in my tanks just to keep the plant leaves cleaner. Here we are talking the basic common algae, such as otocinclus, farlowella (Twig Catfish), bristlenose pleco, whiptail catfish, etc will eat. Molly and some other fish also eat this, mbuna rift lake cichlids for example. So depending upon the aquarium, some of these might form the resident community and thus serve the purpose. I never acquire a fish solely to handle algae; the fish I have serve this purpose but are in the tank because i like them as fish. And I think this is very important.

Shrimp and snails will also deal with common algae. Minimally, so don't expect them to clean up any problem tanks.

Diatoms (brown algae) will also be devoured by most of the above fish but this is usually only an issue during the initial couple of months in a new tank.

Some of the afore-mentioned fish can handle quite a bit of common algae, and it is not uncommon to have them become "hungry" in short order. They will readily switch to prepared foods such as algae/kelp/spirulina based sinking foods, raw veggies, etc.

So far I've been thinking of common green (or brown) algae. The real troublemakers however are much more difficult to deal with; brush algae is likely the worst, and only two fish I know of eat this. Siamese Algae Eater (the authentic) is one, the other I can never remember. The SAE needs a large tank, and comes with its own problems.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 09-21-2011 at 04:45 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 06:07 PM
I have Bristlenose Plecos in both of my tanks. They are neat fish and don't get too large, but the algae in the tank is not enough for them. I supplement their diet with algae wafers and vegetables.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Byron - I just found this site last week, only been a member of this site for a couple days and it's obvious you are a weath of knowledge!!

Spike - the Bristlenose Plecos...I had to "Google Images" to see what they look like, pretty cool looking little fish.

Thank you both for your replies
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2fish View Post
Byron - I just found this site last week, only been a member of this site for a couple days and it's obvious you are a weath of knowledge!!

Spike - the Bristlenose Plecos...I had to "Google Images" to see what they look like, pretty cool looking little fish.

Thank you both for your replies
Thank you. BTW, in case you are not aware, we have fish profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top; if common or scientific names are used in a post exactly the same as they appear in the profiles, they will shade, as several did in my previous post; you can then click them for the profile. Photos are included. The BN pleco is included, which is why I mention this. B.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 10:04 PM
If you have green algae or diatoms, I would recommend trying otos

38 gallon :
Pelvicachromis Taeniatus Nigerian Red not yet breeding pair
4 Pangio Kuhli
12 Hemmigrammus Bleheri
2 Botia Lohachata
1 Botia Straita
1 Ancistrus Sp.
6 Poecilia Reticulata




The Wet Spot Portland Oregon!!!!!!

ADA: Do!aqua Iwagumi 10 gallon size!
7 Clown Killies
7 Ghost shrimp
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-22-2011, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips guys.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-22-2011, 10:28 AM
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I have Zebra and Onion snails in my FW tanks. They do a great job and don't breed.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-25-2011, 09:33 AM
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I added Otocinclus to my tank and they have done a great job of keeping my decorations clean of brown algae.
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