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subset99 03-18-2009 07:33 PM

Introduction / Algae Eating question
First of all, hello to everyone. I'm relatively new to this hobby, but have done lots of research into planning my tank. I've had it for about roughly 6 or 7 months now. What's interesting is that my intention was to turn my tank into a peaceful community tank in the beginning. I bought a 55 gallon aquarium w/ accompanying stand (along w/ other required components; filter, heater, thermometer, gravel, vaccum, etc.) and proceeded to cycle it. Here's what has happened since:

#1: It has become a semi-aggressive tank. The purchase of a red tail shark started it towards that trend, but the addition of tiger barbs pretty much solidified its status. Maybe someone could tell me if I'm on the right track w/ the compatibility of my selections:

3 Rainbow fish
8 Tiger barbs
1 Red tail shark
3 Pictus catfish
1 Bala shark
1 Marble molly

Since it is a relatively young tank, the size of the fish is not an issue. I figure that they will probably top out at around 65 inches at full maturation. I figure to graduate to a 100 gallon well before that point even. Do these fish seem to be compatible together? I have to say, since they've been together, I've experienced no problems. My only apprehension is how the two sharks will interact later down the road. As of right now, the red tail pretty much rules the roost!!

#2: I have purchased "underwater bamboo" and was wondering if that is okay. I put that in quotes because I've read conflicting opinions as to whether this can survive while fully submerged or not. Some people have said it will rot, while others have claimed that it did just fine for years and still continues to flourish (I'm guessing water parameters probably play an active role in its progression?).

I also purchased anacharis because it is said to grow very quickly and provide necessary shade and cover for shy fish as well as bottom feeders. I'm assuming that is a good buy. That is all in the live plant department. The rest are fake, along w/ a couple of intermediate to large hiding spots for the red tail and catfish. It's kind of funny actually; the red tail is territorial about his log w/ everyone but the catfish. For whatever reason, they have a lifetime pass, while the barbs get promptly chased away.

#3: And the main reason I wrote this inquiry... Since I've added live plants recently, I figured there was a much greater possibility for algae buildup. I believe I'm maxing out for space requirements fish-wise and can't get a siamese or chinese algae eater because of it. That leaves me limited options for bottom feeders or sufficient algae eaters. I don't think shrimp are an option because of my tank inhabitants being semi-aggressive. I'm guessing an amano shrimp or cherry shrimp would be sucked up like an appetizer, no? That would leave more hostile bottom feeders like lobsters or crayfish, but aside from their horrible (and I've heard, predatory) temperaments, even if they were docile enough to put in, I don't think they fight algae enough to justify the involvement. African dwarf frogs would get snapped up as well according to my research. That would just leave snails and I've heard they multiply like crazy. Is it possible to have one snail that can combat the algae and leave it alone? I've also heard that some snails are asexual and are able to multiply by themselves. Is that true or am I getting my facts wrong? If snails are possible, any recommendations? Basically, I'd like something unique and diverse in the tank, but feel that I've boxed myself in because of the tank's semi-aggressive state. It's not even so much a necessity that the new tank addition is a huge algae cleaner. It's more about having something different. I can take care of the maintainence just fine. I'm more curious than anything else.

missgingersnap 03-18-2009 08:01 PM

I'm totally new at this too but Nerite snails can only reproduce in brackish water so if you get those they won't multiply. I asked the same question about snails in one of the fish forums too. lol They're hard to find though. Every fish store I've been to never has them. I don't want a million snails in my tank either. Good luck on your algea eater search. I'm looking for something that will go well in my tank too. :)

mgamer20o0 03-18-2009 08:46 PM

1 the bala wont work they are schooling fish and rich a foot long. really need 180-240 for a group of those. RTS will be fine for now but as it gets older it will be aggressive like you know.

2 there is no true under water bamboo. will be ok for a couple months but will rot over time. keep the leafs out from under the water.

3 most so called algae eaters wont eat or prefer other foods then algae. your best bet is a mag float or a scrubber.

subset99 03-18-2009 09:33 PM

What I read about the bala is that you're better off either getting one or three or more. Obviously, getting three or more is entirely out of the question, but would only getting one bala stress it out? That's where I've read dissenting views. Some say it will absolutely get stressed out, while others say that its gentle demeanor makes it compatible, even for a big fish. Also, I've read in many places that a bala kept in captivity rarely grows beyond 10 inches. So the logical question is if that is the rule of thumb w/ a 55 gallon tank or would it grow beyond 10 inches in captivity if the tank was much larger? I know it's somewhat a matter of semantics, but I'm not trying to be cruel here. If a fish's growth is stunted does that mean you have damaged internal organs or caused serious bodily harm? Again, I'm not trying to hurt any of the fish (knowingly or unknowingly), but my daughter chose it and really loves it. But if it can't work then it can't work.

Anybody have ideas about the algae eaters like snails or shrimp, BTW? Thanks for the idea of the nerite snail. I've heard of it before and also heard it is difficult to find.

mgamer20o0 03-18-2009 11:49 PM

yes because lots of people keep them in too small of tanks. many people say the same thing about black ghost knifes but i know several people who keep them in tanks that fit their needs and hitting 16-20 inch. also look at the the its self. there some other 10 inch fish that dont move much that might be fine in a 55 gallon. ok ill give you that but then look at the bala shark its a swimmer. 48 inch long tank 10 inch fish 38 thats just over 2 times its length to swim. not much room to swim and turn around for a active fish. plus schooling fish do best in 6 or more.

shrimp will become lunch snails wont do much.

missileman 03-19-2009 06:42 AM

Bela staying small is not true. I have seen balas at my LFS that were returned due to size well in excess of 12" as I understand it they can get up to 17".

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