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Old 10-26-2013, 09:45 AM   #1
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Freshwater Sand Sifter?

I recently started a 38gal freshwater tank with beach sand substate and a few live plants. The only inhabitants currently in the tank are 6 leopard danios and a zebra nerita snail. I am looking for a good sand sifter to tackle the brown algae that's starting to form. I've been told that both Cory catfish & kuhlii loaches are good choices. Can Anyone provide any further input?
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Theres no such thing as a freshwater fish that will sift the sand as prolifically as saltwater, but there are some that will do the job. Cory cats are great, and one of my favorites. You can't beat snails though. Also, Ime kuhli loaches don't touch the algae.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:12 AM   #3
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I have a good population of Malaysian Trumpet snails in one of my tanks. They keep the sand well mixed. The brown algae is likely diatoms, cut back one lighting and feeding it should go away on its own.
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:18 PM   #4
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The tank is in my cellar so it receives minimal natural light. I have the fluorescent lights on for 12 hours (9am to 9pm). What is the recommended amount of light required for live plants to flourish?
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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I'm battling diatoms as well but I have gravel so I imagine sand is worse. Diatoms feed on silicates and is in most newly setup aquariums. Cut the lights to 6 hours in sure the plant will be fine with less lighting untill the diatoms clear up.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
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What about clown loach
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:05 PM   #7
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What about clown loach
This is a 38 gallon. Clown loaches will get much too large.
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:46 AM   #8
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I have kuhli loaches in my 20 long and they sift through the sand looking for bits of food almost non stop. But then again my kuhlis are also really adventurous and like to hang out in the open during day or night.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:39 AM   #9
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Diatoms are a natural phase of new tanks, once the silicates are gone, the diatoms will also go.

Lights on for 6-8 hours is plenty. I use timers.
Make sure you keep up weekly PWCs
Add root tabs ( every 45 days or according to directions) since it's straight sand, esp if you plan to add any Swords or Crypts ( my favorites)
Add your liquid or dry Ferts after your PWCs.

Too much light and not enough Ferts or a carbon source will grow Algae.

I love my Cories, just make sure you feed them meat based food. They aren't Algae eaters, but they will eat a wide variety.

Nerite Snails are awesome, but do not get one until you have enough Algae for it to eat. I only wipe my front glass so my algae eaters can clean the other 3 walls. I hardly get much algae, but I rotate mine between 4 tanks. My Otos love to clean plant leaves and walls of biofilm.
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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Brown algae go for Nerite snails. Bought some for my daughters tank that she will leave the light on forever, 5 of the little buggers in a 20 keep it almost brown algae free.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:15 PM   #11
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Thread has been cleaned up, please keep posts on the topic of sand-sifting organisms that are suitable for the OPs tank.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:18 PM   #12
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Thread has been cleaned up, please keep posts on the topic of sand-sifting organisms that are suitable for the OPs tank.
Lol I always get off topic so easily... Haha

Anyways, nerites are definitely your best option for snails, because they don't breed in freshwater so you won't have thousands later.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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+1 on MTS. Yes they will breed like rabbits but their population should stabilize depending on the amount of food available (try not to over feed if possible).
I've observed Amano shrimp shifting the substrate but that was pretty much only at the surface. MTS get under the surface (I have EcoComplete and sometimes I see the substrate "move" as the tunnel underneath).
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:14 PM   #14
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+1 on MTS. Yes they will breed like rabbits but their population should stabilize depending on the amount of food available (try not to over feed if possible). I've observed Amano shrimp shifting the substrate but that was pretty much only at the surface. MTS get under the surface (I have EcoComplete and sometimes I see the substrate "move" as the tunnel underneath).
That is very true actually. If you don't feed as much they won't breed as much! So with that theory they'll keep breeding until all of the algae is gone/under control. Also ramshorn snails do the same except look a bit prettier IMO. Either way works. There's also plenty ways to remove the snails if they become out of hand.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:35 PM   #15
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So how many snails do I need in a 38 gal?
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:31 AM   #16
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My first time buying mts I got 2 dozen for a dollar or so at an lfs. Since then there has been no shortage of snails in my tank! I intentionally over feed that tank because I use the mts as a treat for my Oscar. Whenever I see tons in the planted tank, I grab a handful and toss them in with the big boy.

As for neritites, not sure since I've never kept them.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:54 AM   #17
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I bought 10/$1 at an LFS. 4-5 months later there are at least 100+. I have a planted tank so I don't vacuum the substrate so it was full of fish waste and other things that the snails dined on.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #18
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Think I'm gonna give the MTS a try. Thank you everyone for your input
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:21 AM   #19
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Brown algae is typically from diatoms or silicates present in the sand.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:48 PM   #20
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A single fire mouth would be good. He or she could be your center piece fish and mine are always sifting my sand for food. you wouldn't want to add anything else through.
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