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Old 12-16-2003, 07:33 PM   #1
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another dumb question....

Well I moved my aquarium with great success a week ago and once everything was stable again I bought 9 neons. They are doing spectacularly, haven't lost a one yet (which far beats my record last time I bought neons and they were all dead in a few days). I took 2 hours to acclimatize as my water is pretty alkaline and very hard.

Anyways, I lost my CAE a couple weeks before the move and my tank is now in a sunnier spot and I think I need an algae eater again, the algae is growing fast. My tank is only a 20 gallon and besides the neons, I have 3 male platies and 2 male guppies. I am hesitant to buy any fish that will grow particularly large due to my tank size. I was in Wal-Mart today and cruised by the fish (although I don't buy them there) but I saw a card for a pleco which I am considering but hesitant about because I've seen some really huge ones. Wal-Mart was claiming they grow to about 4" depending on tank size and food supply. Is this correct? Because if it is that would be perfect for me. I am fairly rural and not much access to good fish stores with a large variety of fish. I may try these plecos if you all think it is a good idea.

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Old 12-16-2003, 08:22 PM   #2
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Those are common plecos and can grow up to 2 feet. Walmart is still using that fish only grow to tank size theory. It doesn't always work and when it does it means your fish is stunted and will not live a full life.

If you can get to a real fish store then I suggest either a bristlenose pleco (a dwarf version that gets to be 5 inches) or else an SAE, not a CAE. Don't buy the golden algae eater from WalMart as itis a CAE and they stop eating algae when they grow up. The Siamese Algae Eater keeps eating algae its whole life. But beware as there is a false version and the flying fox that are often sold as true SAE's by mistake.

And don't forget that you must still fee algae eaters as the tank algae will not give enough nutrition. You can buy sinking algae tablets that are good for them.

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Old 12-16-2003, 08:46 PM   #3
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I would recommend getting either a bristlenose pleco or a small group of ottos. Both fish are great algae eaters. Most bristlenose plecs only reach 4-6" inches in length. However, I'm not sure how the ottos would fare in hard, alkaline water.

Ditto tkos rec about supplementing their feedings. Tank algae alone isn't enough to sutain them. Algae wafers and an occasional treat of sliced, blanched zucchini will be relished.

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Old 12-16-2003, 08:57 PM   #4
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My vote's for the otos (Otocinclus affinis). They do a fantastic job on algae and don't quit on you! Plecs can do a good job, too, but are less reliable. I used to support them 100%, but now I'm an oto man.
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Old 12-16-2003, 09:12 PM   #5
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As mentioned, it depends on the type of plec; some get 4-6 inches long, some get 2 feet long. And not all eat algae!

One heads up on the otos; they prefer brown algae (diatoms) to green algae and don't eat beard or hair algae at all. Least not my guys.
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:26 PM   #6
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If you have hair algae, I would recommend some Amano shrimp, especially with your setup they would probably thrive. Otherwise, a rubbernose (aka rubberlip) pleco or the bristlenose, as they stay small. My otocinclus took care of brown, diatom algae, but once that was gone they did not do much, and now have to be fed supplementally, like Allivymar's.

If algae is the problem, it may be wise to address the causes of the algae rather than adding to your bioload (with your livebearers, you probably have a full bioload already..) so think about blocking the sunshine from the tank, or otherwise removing the algae nutrients from the tank. Just a thought.
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:55 PM   #7
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Make sure that when trimming plants to do a water change afterwards. Many algaes (hair esp) release spores when handled. A water change afterwards will help to reduce those spores.

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