09-22-2010, 02:06 PM
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All algae (except diatoms) occurs due to the presence of light. It is a plant so it need nutrients, but unlike higher plants it can survive on very little, so long as it has light.
I am raising about 20 Farlowella fry at present, and the most difficult issue in this species is feeding the fry initially once they absorb the yolk sack and are free swimming. They must have soft algae, period. My solution was to put them in my 10g that sits in the window, a west-facing window which thus gets lots of light including direct sun. I can assure you, algae took off and is rampant in this tank. The Farlowella are now 3 weeks old (the first hatching) and are doing very well on the green algae that abounds in this tank, solely due to the light.
The danger is that other types of algae may also occur, as Angel079 correctly pointed out. And these fish (otos, Farlowella, etc) will not eat brush algae, hair algae, spot algae. Why these types appear in some tanks and not others is as far as I know not completely understood, but I suspect it has to do with the biological system in each tank. Rhonda Wilson, a plant authority, has written of this several times; she notices various algae in different tanks, when she has the same light, same water, same ferts.
Last comment on otos. IF they are introduced to a tank that has green algae (or diatoms), they will (should) settled in nicely. Once the algae is gone, they will find other sources of food naturally. Mine have always done this. And my adult Farlowella and Whiptail cats have done exactly the same. All these fish eat algae naturally, and if it is present in the tank at first they will settle in. Then they learn to feed from wafers, tablets, pellets that I always feed in the morning for the bottom catfish and loaches. My otos and whiptails in the 115g and Farlowella in the 90g learned quite quickly about sinking foods, and now they all are front and centre in the morning waiting for the sinking foods, even though the rest of the day they are browsing plant leaves and every surface for algae. The sinking foods are keeping them alive, there is insufficient green algae. They learn. It is the initial acclimation period that is critical in such species.