Question on Compatibility
I have a 72g bow front tropical freshwater aquarium. It's currently stocked with 7 cherry barbs, 7 black neon tetras, 4 kuhli loaches (pangio oblonga), 6 platy (mixed species), and a bristlenose pleco (though I haven't seen him in a while, I think he's still in there).
There are a few plants in there (an anubias, some red ludwigia, and hornwort).
Green algae has been an issue to control in the tank. I've tried differing the lighting. I manually scrape off the algae from the glass and the decor in the tank, yet it always seems to come back with a vengeance. In conjunction with my current cleaning methods, I was thinking of adding some species that like to eat algae. Perhaps a couple of ghost shrimp, an apple snail, or maybe another bristlenose pleco. I would still provide some food for these additions, but the main goal is for them to eat a good portion of the algae. I was also thinking of adding a marino moss ball since some people say that they help control algae populations.
My worry is these species compatibility with my current occupants. My cherry barbs tend toward aggression (I feed them often, so I don't know why they are aggressive to the other fish). I once tried to add guppies to this mix and the cherries and black neons picked on them horribly. I don't want to invest on new fish just to have them be incompatible with the current tank.
Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
It is best not to acquire any fish for a specific purpose, unless you really like the fish on its own merits and it is compatible. When it comes to algae, not all algae is palatable to algae-eating fish. The common gree algae will be eagerly eaten by bristlenose pleco, otocinclus, Farlowella, and a few others; molly and certain other vegetarian fish will also pick at it. Snails will eat it, though slowly. Shrimp the same.
Once you get into the different types of algae, none of the afore-mentioned fish will touch it, and there are only a couple of other fish that will eat this or that. So it is best to control the algae by other means, which usually involves lighting (aside from manually cleaning it off the glass which is usually necessary no matter what). You have plants, so you want to balance the light with the nutrients so algae does not have an advantage.
First task is to identify the algae. Perhaps you could post a photo?
I just cleaned the tank so there's not much algae that's visible, though in another week or so there will be a coating of it. All the algae is a dark green color. It attaches itself to the sides of the tank and the decor. It tends to be stringy or matted. Scraping gets some of it, but not all of it. The first photo should be of the tank glass and some algae that I couldn't get out. The second photo should be of the algae that I scraped off the sides and the decor.
And here's a front view of the whole aquarium.
Nothing much is going to eat that. I'm not exactly sure as to the species, but it is in the brush/beard/hair category. These are often seen, they are caused by light with nutrients, and often water movement (they frequently appear thickest on or near filter outlets).
I keep algae off the front and side glass, and I do this by cleaning the inside of the glass with a sponge scraper at every water change, even if I can't see any algae; this will get the microscopic beginnings and make life much easier for you. I leave it alone on wood or rock, it actually is natural and looks the same, natural.
If you have live plants you do not want this on the leaves or it can spread and suffocate the leaf and then the plant. If this is an issue, on plants, reducing the light intensity and/or duration will usually prevent its spread.
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