Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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emwalt 11-04-2008 10:20 AM

Algea Eater?
I have a 20g tall and currently I have 3 Zebra Danio's and 2 Platy's. I'm noticing some algea on my decor and I'm planning on getting an algea eater sometime in the next few weeks but i'm not really sure what to get. The guy at my LFS said i should just get a pleco and that when it gets big he said i could just bring it in and trade out for another little one cause he said that some other algea eaters can get aggressive. However this is the same LFS that gave me ich so I don't go there anymore. The people on this forum have really helped me in the past so i was hoping that you couls give me some advice on this one.

onefish2fish 11-04-2008 11:21 PM

plecos for sure get to big

you could try ottos (ottocinclus) but they need to be in a group. they also tend to be sensitive.

maybe you should cut back on how long you have your lights on and do not overfeed to help.

iamntbatman 11-05-2008 01:41 AM

To add to what onefish2fish said about the otos, some of them can be very picky eaters and might only eat algae or possibly algae supplemented with fresh greens like spinach. I would only add them to a mature tank that has a lot of algae growth to sustain their diets.

A small species of pleco, like a clown or bristlenose pleco, would be able to stay in the tank long-term, but both species would also require driftwood in the tank to supplement their diets. Common plecos grow too big too fast, and I just find something wrong with the idea of replacing a fish with a younger specimen whenever it outgrows your tank.

Siamese algae eaters and Florida flag fish are both excellent at eating hair algae and would be suitable for a tank of your size.

Snails, such as mystery snails, will eat algae but won't clean your glass for you. Some shrimp, such as amano shrimp, are also great algae eaters.

Tyyrlym 11-05-2008 10:03 AM

Personally I am of the opinion that if you're getting excessive amounts of algae the true solution is to fix the problems that are causing it rather than buying an algae eater of some type in the hopes it will control it for you. Most algae eaters have other issues that make them less than spectacular additions to an aquarium if all you want them for is algae control.

Probably the only natural solution to algae that I've heard and am enthusiastic about is adding plants to try and out compete the algae for nutrients.

1077 11-05-2008 11:03 AM

I am always saddened by those algae eaters that are slowly starved to death due to lack of algae to maintain them in the long term. Many of the so called algae eaters actually do a poor job once they discover fish food tastes better than algae. Others require oxygen rich water with sufficent current along with supplements of fresh vegetables and driftwood to sustain them in the long term. Some folks at the first sign of algae rush to the store and purchase five or six of the smaller variety (otocinclus) and as stated slowly starve the fish due to lack of their primary food which is algae. A little algae in my view is a sign of a healthy tank and if one has large amounts of algae I agree with TY ,You need to find the cause of the algae. If you don't mind algae in your tank and you have sufficent amount to sustain these fish then by all means I would recommend these fish.Some of them are so ugly that in my view ,theyre cute in a virile sort of way.

iamntbatman 11-05-2008 11:55 AM

One thing I forgot to mention: probably the most common fish sold as an "algae eater" is the Chinese algae eater. It suffers from all of the problems 1077 listed and more. As it grows, it loses its taste for algae and would much prefer to eat fish food. It prefers a high-oxygen environment, preferably with a ton of water flow. Finally, they can and will grow to be extremely aggressive and could kill or injure your other fish. They can be cool fish in the right tank, but in the average community tank they cause a lot more problems than they solve.

I agree with what others have added - an algae-eating fish is not really a solution to an algae problem. To eliminate algae completely, you need to find the cause of the problem (usually excess nutrients or too much light) and eliminate it. Algae-eating tank residents can only help to keep an algae problem at bay. They also add a significant amount to the bioload on your tank, as most algae eating creatures produce a lot of waste for their size.

Jeanifur 11-08-2008 08:35 PM

Oooo! Good point! Mine eats the tablets right up .. little piggie! And the way they eat, its easy to starve them if you think your tank produces enough on its own. As far as eating fish food, I put a little flake at a time. Watch, feed more, watch, feed more. That way they eat it all and it doesn't float around and sit at the bottom.

SinCrisis 11-09-2008 04:37 AM

yea if you get a pleco and have driftwood, u basically get a pooping machine. Oto's are very good cleaners though so if you do get them make sure you get algae tablets or at least enough algae growth to support them. dont get a pelco, they usually end up eating ur plants if u have live ones. I keep 4 otos in my 20 gallon, as to not exceed the 5 gallon per oto rule i read... somewhere... and they keep any large group of algae to form... unfortunatly they are picky at times so stuff like black beard cannot be solved with otos...

kritas 11-09-2008 05:02 AM

SinCrisis, whereever you read that rule, scrap that from your memory... In a 20 gallon, as many as (IMO) 15-20 oto's could live together.
I absolutely agree with Tyyrlym. Adding plants to out-compete the algae is the best natural way to get rid of it. Do not go to the pet shop and get some stupid product like Al-gone. It will not permanently get rid of the problem, and is simply a waste of money.

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