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Old 02-21-2008, 09:11 PM   #1
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newb ?s: algae/algae eaters/bamboo

list of questions now that my cycle has completed (my test and the LFS were successful, what a relief!) unfortunately, i lost my last fish the day it was completed so i restocked with a red velvet swordtail and some glofish.

i have just started forming brown spots (a few green) on my rocks and plants in my tank. just wondering if this is the start of something harmful, or if every tank has got some minute amounts of algae chillin' in it somewhere.

this leads me to my next question:
what's a good algae eater that doesn't get huge? i heard corys can get fairly large and the gal at the LFS said that "ottos"? stay pretty small. i have never seen one (because they were sold out at the time) and i was curious as to how they look. i don't know if i'm even spelling the word right.

otherwise: how are snails? i noticed some gold inca snails and some mystery snails at the LFS as well and was wondering how well they can maintain a algae problem, or are they just bottom feeders?

side note: is bamboo difficult to grow/maintain? i noticed that planted tanks require different lightbulbs and was unsure if bamboo would survive with the stock tank light (i see petco/smart always have bamboo just sitting out with the flourescent lights on them, seemed like nothing special to me...) tips/suggestions?
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:37 PM   #2
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If the brown stuff brushes off easily it's probably just diatoms. Leave it alone and it should go away in a few weeks.

Cories are not algae eaters. The adult size varies greatly depending on the species. The dwarf cories (pygmaeus, hastatus, habrosus) all max out around 1". I've heard of several other species easily reaching 4".

Otocinclus (otos or ottos) are a very good algae eater if you can get ahold of a healthy one that hasn't gone too long without eating. They'll eat diatoms and some other forms of algae. I believe their max size is somewhere between 1.5 and 2".

If your plants are live instead of silk or plastic, you'll need to be careful what type of snails you buy. Some are perfectly plant safe while others will quickly devour a aquarium full of plants. Many are good algae eaters.

If the bamboo you are looking at is the same stuff that is commonly sold as lucky bamboo, then you need to keep in mind that it shouldn't be completely submerged. It likes to have it's feet wet but most of the plant in the air.
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:01 AM   #3
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few more:

what would be a recommended good starter-bulb (i have no idea what wattage/whatever it is that determines "plant-able" lighting) to use when first growing plants? i'm not picky on the types of plants, i'd rather first get some experience growing easy-to-grow plants.

are snails compatible with swordtails/glofish? i've noticed my snail has been enjoying his shell a lot. maybe he's shy because he's new, but i didn't know if maybe the other fish have compatibility issues with him.

i have these water spots on the inside of my tank from when i first started, and i saw these wipes at petco to clean the inside of the tank (says they will not harm the fish), and i was wondering if anyone had any success/harm with these. any other ways to remove these if not?
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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To get started with plants you'll want to aim for about 1-1.5WPG (watts per gallon). It's not real exact, does give a good ballpark. This will allow you to get started with low light plants. Anything in the 5000K to 10000K range will have usable light for plants (you'd still be fine a bit outside of this range). Towards the lower end the aquarium will look more yellow and towards the higher end it will look more blue. Pick the color that appeals most to you.

In addition you'll probably want to dose a good trace mix (Flourish "Comprehensive", Tropica Plant Nutrition, and CSM+B are all good options) and some Potassium (Flourish Potassium or K2SO4 are good options) after each water change. Dose enough Trace to get about .1 fe (iron) and enough Potassium for 20ppm.

Snails will often retreat into their shell for protection or when they're full and focusing on growing. As long as they aren't floating at the surface (trying to escape to better water conditions) it's probably fine.

If it's a glass aquarium then a straight razor blade (the kind used in paint scrapers) works well for removing stubborn algae, etc. For less stubborn algae and buildup, I find that a chunk of polyfiber will do the trick, and is safe with plexiglass.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:11 PM   #5
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Marineland also makes a scraper that is plastic and safe for use on acryllic tanks. I feel kinda crappy that my acryllic tank has some scratches but I guess it's inevitable over time. Any way to buff these out?
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