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Old 03-28-2017, 04:32 AM   #1
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Best small tank cleaners?

I have a 50 gallon live planted tank and can't afford a pleco because they get big and to be honest I don't like pleco. What other small fish I can keep that can keep substrate surface clean? I run two powerheads and a UV sterilizer. My water is always very clear but I do see fish poo on substrate.

Please help what are my choices for cleaners. I don't want to feed sinking food to any bottom cleaner so I want to know what I can house which can survive only on fish waste or can come to surface at feeding time. I really want to get rid of fish waste I see on my substrate. Please help. Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:08 AM   #2
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I'd recommend a gravel vac. No, it's not a fish but it will do the job you are asking for. Since your tank is planted, simply hovering the tube just above the substrate should work. Or adjust the powerheads so that the current pushes the waste out of view.
I can't think of any fish that would just eat fish waste. Even if you had some, what would become of the waste that THEY produce?
Physical removal of waste is a good thing because it gets it out of the system before it has a chance to break down and add to the water column.
Now I'm a hypocrite because I don't vacuum my tanks. But I don't see fish waste because of the low bioload and high density of plants.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:15 AM   #3
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Couldnt of said it better. Then by having some pond and rams to scavenge through plants and hardscape is a plus while the mts turn the substrate. I never see any kind of waste in any tank ive owned.
Heavy flora, low fauna, heavy filtration, heavy gastropods.
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Old 03-28-2017, 08:09 AM   #4
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And snails can be beautiful too!Click image for larger version

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Old 03-28-2017, 08:13 AM   #5
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The AA snail posse.. Regulators lets ride!!!!!
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:28 AM   #6
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Not all plecos get big. For example, my clown pleco only gets 3" max. But Nerite Snails are a good option as well, and every colorful with cool designs. Shrimp is another option if you don't have fish that will take a liking to them.
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:51 AM   #7
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Well fact is I will say that a clean tank is the persons responsibility is a fact. However, my preferred cleanup crew is non-breeding snails like nerites and shrimp (I ussually mix Cherries and Ammanos).
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:15 PM   #8
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All great advice.....count me in the snail posse!


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Old 03-28-2017, 03:14 PM   #9
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Another option would be some Otocinculus. The only get to 1.5" and they love the algae. I don't know of anything that eats poo. ?? I put 6 Otos in my tank and within 3-4days they had cleared majority of the excess food algae etc. from everywhere in the tank. Glass, substrate, rocks, décor etc etc
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:54 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. I have a UV sterilizer and never have any algae problem in my tank. I change water every week 25 percent to 50 percent.

Running two power head filters but still I sometimes see fish waste on substrate. Do snails eat fish waste too? Can survive if there is no algae in tank? I think then they will go for my plants. No?
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:22 AM   #11
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Again as Fresh2o stated I dont know anything that consistently eats waste.

My tank is 99 percent algae free. Algae free.....to my eyes. Meaning algae spores and hyphae is present that I cant see. Snails imo are more of a preventive action than curative. People get algae then wanna know what snail or fish to dump in. Snails as many mention eat dead/dying plant material....dead/dying material creates ammonia ....ammonia creates algae. Snails are opportunistic. Much of their diet we can barely see or not at all. Biofilm makes up part of thier diet as well.

Too my eyes I see nothing in my tank for them to eat. Yet they prosper without me purposely feeding them.....id say my tank has 50-60 percent plant mass. Most tanks are probably in the 25 percent range. So if you have large plant mass with large snail population there is a balance. Wouldn't it be this way in nature?

But if I have say the same 300 snails in a 10g with two pieces of wisteria....not natural. Perhaps not enough natural food source. Not enough in tank to support them. This tank got like this by the aquarists wrong doings. Could there be plant damage in this tank.....yes.

Autumnsky brought up a good point...majority of plants said to be damaged by snails are really fish...some just curious.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flchamp89 View Post
Again as Fresh2o stated I dont know anything that consistently eats waste.

My tank is 99 percent algae free. Algae free.....to my eyes. Meaning algae spores and hyphae is present that I cant see. Snails imo are more of a preventive action than curative. People get algae then wanna know what snail or fish to dump in. Snails as many mention eat dead/dying plant material....dead/dying material creates ammonia ....ammonia creates algae. Snails are opportunistic. Much of their diet we can barely see or not at all. Biofilm makes up part of thier diet as well.

Too my eyes I see nothing in my tank for them to eat. Yet they prosper without me purposely feeding them.....id say my tank has 50-60 percent plant mass. Most tanks are probably in the 25 percent range. So if you have large plant mass with large snail population there is a balance. Wouldn't it be this way in nature?

But if I have say the same 300 snails in a 10g with two pieces of wisteria....not natural. Perhaps not enough natural food source. Not enough in tank to support them. This tank got like this by the aquarists wrong doings. Could there be plant damage in this tank.....yes.

Autumnsky brought up a good point...majority of plants said to be damaged by snails are really fish...some just curious.
Thanks. Very informative. I of course don't want more than one or two in my tank.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:12 AM   #13
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Then nerites....
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:13 AM   #14
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Then nerites....
Thanks. I thought same.
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:50 AM   #15
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I just let the poo fly! Free fertilizer for my plants.
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