Haha, I'd be dead in the water (no pun intended) if I didn't own two Cheerio-loving dogs to help me 'clean up' after the tots! Of course, they have their own dogrun to put their messes into, lol. . .
| • Reduce Fish, this includes "Cleaner Fish" or similar; this is similar to the above recommendation as less fish or other inhabitants (crabs, shrimp, snails, etc.) means less organic waste. |
As well I should address the often implied Urban Myth about "Cleaner Crews"; adding fish such as Plecostomus to clean your aquarium only cleans cosmetically. The facts are this fish or similar dumps far more organic waste than they take in and in fact while algae might be unsightly, removing it via a plecostomus not only removes a life form that removes nitrates, but adds a life form that adds much more to the nitrates. Snails are even worse in this respect.
I am not suggesting that fish such as Plecostomus should not be kept, but if you are keeping these (along with snails, both freshwater or marine) thinking these are keeping your tank bio load lower and thus nitrates lower, you have them for the wrong reason.
As an analogy; if you had a small child that is constantly spilling and making messes, would you "baby sit" this small child with your dog that is never let out? I think you would find the "Messes" eventually left from the dog to be just as bad and likely much worse.
I think it's a valid point, depending on the target audience. YOU are reading this article with a comprehensive understanding of the subject, but my guess is that most people likely to stumble onto this are struggling with a problem they don't fully grasp. . .
I can't even begin to count how many people told me that a Plec was necessary to any tank as a cleanup crew, and we know full well where this thinking leads without understanding. . . the same applies to other critters, snails being a prime example. In a poorly managed tank snails (depending on the type) are more likely to be given more than enough 'waste' to thrive and multiply out of hand, adding to the bio-load, and thus, the nitrate problem. I've seen so many posts where people recommend adding livestock to a tank in order to 'fix' a problem, without ever addressing the initial cause. If a beginner were to take said advice, I think that, ultimately, he would find himself in a more difficult situation than he was in the first place - probably with higher nitrates, in this situation!
Other methods of controlling nitrates are mentioned in the article, including water changes, vacuuming, reducing stock, reducing food, cleaning filters, adding plants - all sound advice, and put in such a way as to be easily understood by a beginner. . .
So yeah. You're right - cleanup crews are
nice to have around, and beneficial to the tank in which they live - provided that things are kept properly maintained and balanced. But from the perspective of a beginner struggling with nitrate issues, I have to say that this is a decent article that touches base on a lot of valid points, and should provide a decent framework of understanding that will *hopefully* allow the reader to solve their problem in a manner that would work best for their individual situation, and come away with a better general understanding of how aquariums work.
. . . and once they understand a little bit better how nitrate works, THEN
they can put the plec back in. . .