best fish for algae control.
I am trying to decide what fish to add to my tank to help control various types of algae, esp. staghorn and hair algae. (I have already addressed other issues such as lighting, overfeeding, etc.) You can find different opinions about fish all over the internet, but maybe someone here has some helpful experience they would like to share. I have a 55 gal community tank that includes small fish like neon tetras.
Possible fish for general algae control and the issues that I have heard are involved:
SAE: Adults will eat my mosses, may move over to eating fish food as adults.
Otto cats: I have 5, they work hard, but are not able to do as much as needed. Buy more?
Mollies: I have a couple of gold ones, but even though they nibble constantly, it seems like they never get anything to come off.
Bristlenose pleco: I have one a couple, but not good for algae on plants with small leaves and moss.
Shrimp: Too small to do much unless I really stock the tank heavily.
Rosy barbs: get too big and will eat my moss.
Red barbs: Just donít do all that much.
American Flag fish: Not a good community fish, get aggressive.
Nerite snails: My clown loaches eat them, I donít want a million snails in my tank.
Well, as for the Nerite snails, they don't reproduce in freshwater.
Pest snails handle the algae for me.. (And no, I don't have 'a million'.)
Have you tried amano shrimps? Other than that you're pretty much out of luck. Stick to manual removal. If your lighting etc is balanced, it should not be an issue... And even the prettiest tanks require manual labor.
What kind of algae are you having trouble with?
Well you could get more otto's they I think can do it.
No, I haven't tried them. I feed the fish lightly once a day and keep the light on for 2 hours in the AM, off for5, then on for 5 hours (so it's on when I am at home). This works fine with my plants, as they grow quite well. I have staghorn and long hair algae which grows crazy fast in the couple of places it is living since I removed or cut back all of the infected plants. Covering the sides of the tank to prevent any light from the window (which isn't very strong) does not do a lot. I don't measure a lot of water parameters other than pH, so I can't give you the details about those. Water changes and manual removal every few days do not do a lot to slow it down.
Warning with amono shrimp is that as mine have got older they've developed a taste for healthy plants - particularly my wisteria. They do an amazing job eating algae but I'm gonna rehouse them into thier own tank soon
Don't think ottos will eat hair algae
SAE can become aggressive and won't eat as much algae when they're mature
There may be other steps you can take to reduce algae - adding liquid plant fertiliser may seen counterintuitive but it will help the plants you have to make more efficent use of the ammonia and light in the tank > staving the algae. Also bulbs rated around 6500k are best for plants - bulbs that are above or below this k rating are likely to result in algae as the plants can't use the light.
Can you post a photo of this "algae" problem? Algae will occur in all aquaria, you cannot prevent it, and I'm wondering if what you have is normal but perhaps not to you. I say this because with the minimal light period you have, and if the plants are doing well, I can't see how algae could be an issue.
i would get more ottos if they are working so far
My camera will not focus through the glass well enough to take a meaningful picture, but over half of my plants were so tangled in hair algae that I cut them off or pulled them up and staghorn grows about ľ inch high on many of the rocks. Maybe now that the plants have been removed I will be able to dose with some flourish excel, get a few of Amano shrimp and keep things under better control.
I just found this page comparing algae eating fish and inverts that is interesting. Robyn's Algae-Eating Animals Comparison Table Page
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