12-10-2006, 05:34 AM
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Just a note to add, if the tank isn't being overfed, there shouldn't be overwhelming amounts of solid waste to worry about. Fish waste, broken down, is plant fertilizer.
Another option besides shrimp would be a loach, particularly the botia species. These guys are good scavengers and clean up the bottom of the tank pretty well. Cory catfish is another option if any portion of the solid wastes is uneaten food from the other fish.
There is also another option, but I know a lot of plant keepers won't hear of it. The malaysian ram's horn snail is a detrivore, instead of vegetarian, and they tend to spend most of their time in the gravel bed eating the waste products from both fish and plants. They don't devour the plants. I keep them in my 55 gallon livebearer tank which is fully planted, and I never have to do a gravel vac. The last time I attempted to do one, the water came up clear as if I was pulling it from the top of the tank, yet my plants, fish, and snails thrive. I don't use CO2, nothing special for lighting, just a plant bulb in a standard fluorescent fixture, no fertilizers. It's my "simple tank" and the java moss covering the bottom is almost 6 inches thick again, and I only pulled a few handfuls out a week ago. I also have ghost shrimp in that tank, and with the thick java moss, they breed all the time.
Lots of options....