Algae Eater for 55 gallon tank
I started up my 55 gallon PLANTED tank and was told by my local LFS to cycle it for a little while before putting in an algae eater because it would have nothing to eat. It has been a couple weeks now and I am starting to notice a little algae and stuff in the tank so I think I am safe to get one right about now. I dont want the algae eater to take up a large part of my tank so I was hoping for something relatively small that will do the job well. I have heard that Bristlenose plecos are the way to go as they stay small and are very good at what they do. Is this true? or are there some other types that will do a better job for me? Also, how many should I get? I was told one Bristlenose pleco would do the trick, but I am not sure about this.
Thank you for the response. I am still wondering which algae eater is the best, is the bristlenose one of my better options?
If you go with a pleco, it's a good one. Many others will get too large for your tank. Snails would be a good choice as well, but make sure to research them. Some will eat plants, many breed extremely rapidly(Hundreds a month from a single snail is possible with some.)
What are your water parameters and what other fish are in the tank?
You can't go wrong with a bristlenose pleco, but if you go this route you will need a piece of driftwood in the tank. Another option would be Oto's. They stay small, like 1.5-2 inches, but you will need a group of at least three. They are excellent for removing certain types of algae from plant leaves without damaging them. I always add my algae eating fish last though to ensure there is a good food source for them. You will have to supplement their diets with algae tabs or blanched vegetables.
Bristlenose Plecos are great. I have one in my 50 gallon and he does a great job cleaning. I also supplement him and the Cory with algae wafers. You will need to have a piece of driftwood for him. They like to munch on it and it helps with digestion.
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I agree with what others have mentioned about "algae" fish waiting until there is algae. Most will learn to eat sinking prepared foods, but some will not do so in a new environment and may starve to death. Otos and Farlowella are especially prone to this.
I never recommend any algae-eating fish solely to eat algae. First, none of them will eat all types, and many (especially in the pleco group) can produce quite a lot of waste. If you like the fish as a fish, fine; the "algae eating" is a plus. But never buy a fish solely to eat algae.
Snails, particularly Malaysian livebearing and pond or acute bladder types, are ideal in planted tanks. The benefits of these cannot be understated. They will deal with some common algae.
Now, having said all that, there are several unique fish that can add interest to an aquarium and assist in the algae department. Bristlenose pleco is one, Twig Catfish (only in soft water), Whiptail Catfish, Otocinclus and many livebearers are some others. With all these we are talking common green algae (and diatoms, the brown algae that may occur in new tanks but shouldn't later on). None of these will touch brush algae which is often the most difficult, or hair algae.
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