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Old 10-22-2007, 11:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

I have been trying to find an answer for a while. As far as algae eaters some people say to buy chinese algae eaters. As far as snail control, people say clown loaches. Don't both these fish eat plants (especially clown loaches), What is a good fish that either eats algae or snails that will not destroy my plants(amazon swords mostly).
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

Otocinclus (commonly called ottos) are good algae eaters that don't bother plants or other fish. They stay small unlike the chinese algae eaters. They also do better if kept in a group rather than individually.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

Chinese algae eaters don't really eat algae much and are agressive. Siamese algae eaters do but may nibble on small delicate plants. I have 4 kinds of loaches (including clowns) and none eat plants. Plecos may damage your sword as they try to eat the algae of the leaves. Ottos are great for diatoms. Black mollies eat hair algae. Red ramshorn snails eat algae but may eat delicate plants if there nothing else to eat. Cherry and Amano shrimp will eat many kinds of algae and won't damage plants.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

I agree, CAE's are not a good choice for an algae eater. They only eat algae when they're young, they get aggressive, and just aren't nice tankmates.

As suggested, the Oto's are always a good choice, and I've always had good luck with Clown plecs and Bristle noses as well.
Another very good algae eater is the nerite snail (probably better than most algae eating fish), so that would be another option.

As for fish that eat snails, I never recommend them because your snail population should never be out of control unless you're over feeding or something else is amiss in the tank.
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Old 10-22-2007, 01:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

I have a Bristlenose Pleco in my 10 gallon anti-algae tank as per my signature. I don't know what the heck he eats cause he does not get fed a lot and it isn't the plants. He has not harmed any of the plants even the most delicate and I am currently thinking of replacing the SAE that passed away in my 40 gallon tank with an Bristlenose Pleco.

I had a clown loach and pakistani(aka:yo-yo) loach in my 40 gallon. At that time it was an unplanted tank with plastic tanks. Thank God as those two SOBS would uproot any live plants I placed in the tank. The Pakistani Loach pretty much chewed around the stems of my anubias and I could not keep any live plants in the tank when he was alive. They both passed away after 6 years and I never replaced them as I planned to convert my 40 gallon to a live plant tank and did not want to risk having these guys uproot my plants.

I have mini ramshorns snails in my 40 gallon and if they do eat algae, they don't appear to be making much of a dent in the problem.

I had a black molly that I bought when I gave away a monsterous Severum Cichlid and Firemouth Cichlid that grew too big for my 20 gallon and decided to convert the tank into a community tank with different fish. At the time, the tank was over run with green dust algae and diatoms that were just in the end stages and the GDA was beginning to peel off in layers. I bought otos and the molly for starters and the molly kept pecking away at the layers of algae non-stop and totally devoured it. Much to my shock, she was pregnant and gave birth to 18 fry Not something I ever expected or was prepared for. Unless you don't mind a lot of baby mollies, you may want to try and get a male molly instead of a female molly as the female molly may be expecting. I read that once a female molly is impregnated it can give numerous fry over many.....many.....times without getting impregnated again.

For snail control, you may want to look at a Talking Catfish(AKA: Raphael cat fish). They are known to eat snails whole and poop out the shells and are not known to damage plants. Nerite snails are known to eat all kinds of algae including the types that other snails or algae eaters will not eat such as Blue Green Algae and Green Spot Algae. The only thing is that they have a tendency to unrelentlessly lay eggs which don't hatch but will litter your aquarium with what looks like salt crystals.

For algae control, depending on what kind of algae you have, a bristlenose pleco and ottos may serve you well. As far as Siamese Algae eaters go, my algae eater was quite the algae eater when he was a young whipper snapper. As he got older, he seemed to eat less algae, even when he was not fed and spent most of his time hiding.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

I am actually thinking about starting a dwarf puffer tank as a reason to have snail problems

Snails can really be controlled by feeding less, but I have fry in the tank, so I need to feed pretty often.
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Old 10-23-2007, 01:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

I was thinking of adding mollies because of their algae eating ability, but I thought that they need some salt in the water to be healthy and wouldnt that be bad for my plants? Where can i buy ottos from? Are they a common fish at an LFS?



With the subject of snails, will snails eat my swords or nanas? If they do a snail eating fish would be good but it seems from what I heard that clown loaches destroy plants(though one of you had some luck with them). If snails dont typically destroy plants I don't really care about them, but if they cause damage, I don't want to introduce any in my tank. If I can't find a snail eating fish that doesn't destroy plants, I'll have to make sure that every plant I add does not contain snails or snail eggs(which I'm not exactly sure how to do unless I buy those packaged ones from petsmart, where the variety is lacking)
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

You can usually get Oto's from your LFS, and if they don't carry them, they will usually order them for you.

There are many snails that won't bother your plants, but there are a few like apple snails and the large columbian ramshorns that will mow them down in no time, so it's best to avoid them. Most of the others are harmless and some are even beneficial, like the MTS since they are like earthworms in a garden and keep your substrate nice and worked.

As for loaches like clowns(or any other for that matter), they won't destroy your plants, but they could uproot them with their activity.
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

I have a 15h that was overflowing with Ramshorn and regular pond snails. Evidently the two dont get along because all of the pond snail have died off and only the ramshorn are left.

My 55 has both types of snails and the pond snails have taken over the canister filter as their own, to the point that they occasionally clog the filter and it freezes. I have a skunk loach in the 55 to take care of the snails but he is old(probably about 7-8 years old now) and is more interested in fighting my flagfish then anything related to eating snails.

I have three SAE(true AFAIK) and they are constantly going around nibbling on plants looking for algae and I have had no issues with them either attacking other fish or eating plants. Hell the three SAE's just follow each other around and play in the current usually.

Mollies, Flagfish, and many of the other "will eat X algae" fish are usually going to only eat algae as a last resort when they are starving. Most of then will totally ignore Algae in favor of any other kind of food (frozen, flake, live, or pellet).

YMMV
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Old 10-27-2007, 07:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish compatibility, algae and snail eaters

For an algae eater, SAE's are the way to go. Followed closely by Ottos. SAE's in groups of 5+ actually school fairly well and also eat every type fo algae including brush/beard/hair algae which others do not unless starving.

For loaches, they will not eat plants but can cause some problems. Clowns get big and can uproot plants especially foreground plants. I found that yoyo's love nibbling through neddle leaved plants such as rotala wallichi and thus strip them steadily to the stems. I have 8 species of loaches in a heavily planted 150 and have just learned what plants I cannot therefore keep.
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