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Old 04-11-2011, 01:15 AM   #1
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need a different scavenger

After being gone for over a week, I've returned to see that all of my fish have survived my absence. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the ghost shrimp, which looks to have gone from 9 shrimp down to 3. I probably don't quite have enough hiding spaces for them, which spells doom when molting, although I don't see any exoskeletons lying on the gravel.

My first thought is to stop restocking my tank with ghost shrimp and buy corys instead. The problem is, I stocked my tank with the thought that I'd have low bio-load ghost shrimp instead of higher bio-load cories. Not only that, but my tank is a 20g high, so there is less ground for a pack of cories to cover.

In my 20g high, I currently have:

10 black neon tetras
5 five banded barbs
2 female bettas
3 ottos
1 nerite snail
3-ish ghost shrimp

Should I avoid cory cats with that many fish, and instead keep trying ghost shrimp?
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:46 AM   #2
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Without considering a safety factor, you could just barely do that. But I wouldn't. Shrimp would be better if you could manage it.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that the barbs were the ones eating the shrimp.
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:15 AM   #3
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Wow that's an interesting mix. You don't typically see just two female bettas together and you don't typically see barbs with bettas. I think that tank has all the action it can handle. I wouldn't add any more fish. You've got 20 fish in a 20 gallon. I'd stick with ghost shrimp since they are cheap and you can easily replace them if the bettas and barbs pick them off.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:25 AM   #4
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Wow that's an interesting mix. You don't typically see just two female bettas together and you don't typically see barbs with bettas. I think that tank has all the action it can handle. I wouldn't add any more fish. You've got 20 fish in a 20 gallon. I'd stick with ghost shrimp since they are cheap and you can easily replace them if the bettas and barbs pick them off.
Five banded barbs aren't like fin nipping tiger barbs. They're supposed to be a relatively benign community fish from what I've read, or I wouldn't have added them to the tank. Also, not only have I seen multiple female bettas together in the same tanks at a few of the LFS, but there are people on the boards that have more than one female betta in their tanks as well.

I'm inclined to believe the female bettas dispatched quite a few of the ghost shrimp. They were slower to get to the food when I was feeding them before I left, so the more opportunistic and quicker fish probably got to the food left by my automatic feeder. Hungry fish and a ghost shrimp aren't likely to be a good combination.

I also believe that I'm at or near max stocking capacity, which is why I started this thread. Even a pack of pygmy cories may not be a good idea at this point. If I thought nerite snails would work I'd get a few more of those, but I believe they're primarily algae eaters.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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I'm inclined to believe the female bettas dispatched quite a few of the ghost shrimp. They were slower to get to the food when I was feeding them before I left, so the more opportunistic and quicker fish probably got to the food left by my automatic feeder. Hungry fish and a ghost shrimp aren't likely to be a good combination.
The bettas were also suspects. Not too surprised to find that they were the guilty parties. Those barbs are peaceful, but barbs tend to be opportunistic, so I thought they might be likely candidates as well.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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If you're in need of a hardier clean-up crew, just look into picking up a few more nerites. They shouldn't cause any more of a bioload than the ghost shrimp, and they're much better at scaling the glass which is great for tall, thin tanks.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:53 PM   #7
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Five banded barbs aren't like fin nipping tiger barbs. They're supposed to be a relatively benign community fish from what I've read, or I wouldn't have added them to the tank. Also, not only have I seen multiple female bettas together in the same tanks at a few of the LFS, but there are people on the boards that have more than one female betta in their tanks as well.
Oh I agree, I have a sorority of 6 female bettas and I keep singles in community tanks as well. One of my very favorite fish. Typically it is not advised to keep less than 4 females together, as they are unable to successfully form their heirarchy and eventually one becomes dominant and overcomes the other. This can take quite some time. Others will also report keeping 2 or 3 without running into these problems, but that is typically in larger heavily planted tanks. If yours get along, that's great, but I would keep watch and seperate them if you start to see torn fins or any other signs of fighting.

Yes, my nerites do an awesome job at clearing algea but they don't seem interested in any other clean up. Plus they'd just compete with your oto's for food. I think RCS do a little better job at clean up then the ghosties, but if they are getting picked off you may not want to invest in them. I think in this scenario with your pretty stocked tank, the best bet is to be real careful not to overfeed. Feed smaller amounts at a time, if you need to, to prevent it from falling to the tank floor. And of course gravel vac weekly. Then you shouldn't have problems with extra debris.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by siva
Oh I agree, I have a sorority of 6 female bettas and I keep singles in community tanks as well. One of my very favorite fish. Typically it is not advised to keep less than 4 females together, as they are unable to successfully form their heirarchy and eventually one becomes dominant and overcomes the other. This can take quite some time. Others will also report keeping 2 or 3 without running into these problems, but that is typically in larger heavily planted tanks. If yours get along, that's great, but I would keep watch and seperate them if you start to see torn fins or any other signs of fighting.
I wasn't aware that there could be a lower limit on how many female bettas you should keep together. I'll keep an eye on their fins, but they had looked like they got along for the most part.

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Yes, my nerites do an awesome job at clearing algea but they don't seem interested in any other clean up. Plus they'd just compete with your oto's for food. I think RCS do a little better job at clean up then the ghosties, but if they are getting picked off you may not want to invest in them. I think in this scenario with your pretty stocked tank, the best bet is to be real careful not to overfeed. Feed smaller amounts at a time, if you need to, to prevent it from falling to the tank floor. And of course gravel vac weekly. Then you shouldn't have problems with extra debris.
Yeah, I already have three ottos and a nerite snail, so more nerites would hurt rather than help. And yes, I won't be putting RCS in my 20g if ghost shrimp are becoming food. I do, however, think that I should at least try to have some type of cleanup crew for the bottom of the tank, even with regular gravel vacs and no overfeeding.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:26 PM   #9
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I'd have to disagree. Scavengers are not a must when feedings and vac'ing is done properly. I have tanks with no bottom feeders that are still very clean. I really think adding more fish with your current stock would do more harm than good. JMO
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #10
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After being gone for over a week, I've returned to see that all of my fish have survived my absence. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the ghost shrimp, which looks to have gone from 9 shrimp down to 3. I probably don't quite have enough hiding spaces for them, which spells doom when molting, although I don't see any exoskeletons lying on the gravel.

My first thought is to stop restocking my tank with ghost shrimp and buy corys instead. The problem is, I stocked my tank with the thought that I'd have low bio-load ghost shrimp instead of higher bio-load cories. Not only that, but my tank is a 20g high, so there is less ground for a pack of cories to cover.

In my 20g high, I currently have:

10 black neon tetras
5 five banded barbs
2 female bettas
3 ottos
1 nerite snail
3-ish ghost shrimp

Should I avoid cory cats with that many fish, and instead keep trying ghost shrimp?
I'd just keep adding shrimp. I do the same. All my tanks have fish which eat them, but they are active until then and do a lot of cleaning up - then also serve as a meal if I ever don't feed for whatever reason.

You also may still have more shrimp alive than you think. They hide very, very well. Exoskeletons aren't dead shrimp...
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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Well, chalk up another victim. I came home to a dead nerite snail.

I seem to have an invert assassin, or multiple assassins, in my midst. They would have to be either the two female bettas, or the group of five banded barbs.

Or both.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:37 PM   #12
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Oh my...even my most violent male betta can't seem to damage the nerite I put in with him. It's big enough he can't seem to break it's suction so he's given up. With smaller snails though I'd find the snails shrunk way in and his face would be all tore up from scraping it on the shell trying to get them..ridiculous
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:50 PM   #13
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Odd question. Is your aqua-scaping up to adding some more hiding places? I've got ghost shrimp in two tanks, and they actually do really well, but one is a guppy tank (and I'm fairly sure the biggest of the shrimp can kick a guppies butt) and the other one is a heavily planted/decorated tank. If you could, you might just add a few more hiding places for your shrimp and you'll have to restock less often on the shrimp.

Considering the number of fish you have, anything other than an invert is just courting trouble.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:33 AM   #14
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OK, fortunately I was wrong about the nerite snail. I had only glanced into the tank, and it was sitting on its back at the time. I looked later, and it was coming back out of its shell.

I wonder what made it shut its trap door?
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:43 AM   #15
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I have a 10G getting to heavily planted. How many shrimp should be added at one time?
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:09 AM   #16
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I agree with the others here. You might try some RCS as well, just add more hiding places for your shrimp that the fish can't get at and you should be fine.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:45 PM   #17
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I'm just going to stick with ghost shrimp. Because cory cats are so active, I think it would be way too big of a jump in bio-load to put them in place of the ghost shrimp, and my tank was already stocked with no cory cats in the plan.

I'm actually thinking I may move my nerite snail to my 10g once I start stocking it. I don't think I need it in there with 3 ottos anyway.

Now, to stop my fish from snacking on my ghost shrimp...

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