Algae Eaters?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by sanj, 29 Apr 2008.

  1. sanj

    sanj Member

    Messages:
    1,506
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    Are they really worth it, if the main intention is to help control algae?

    I used to keep the true SAE and while they did consume a certain amount of algae they tended to slack off as they became fully grown, preferring the same food as the other fish.

    Amano shrimp and similar, I have quite commonly read that they can be quite fussy over what algae they eat and that keeping them specifically for algae control is probably not a good idea.

    I have recently re-set up one of my aqurium as a high tech and so is still going through the stages, where there is quite a bit of competition between plants and algae, but i am begining to wonder whether it is neccessary to include the so-called algae battlers?
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi sanj,
    I guess everyone has a different take on this but the way I look at it algae eaters don't really control algae. If you have an algae problem it will be because you are doing something fundamentally wrong: poor nutrients, poor CO2, too much light, poor maintenance etc etc. Algae won't care what eaters are in there. Two things baffle me, one in which people get an algal bloom and then decide to get algae eaters to control it, which is like digging your way out of Alcatraz with a spoon. The other is where people actually feed their algae eaters cucumbers or zucchini or special food. :wideyed: As you mention, I reckon if their stomachs are full they won't do such a good job.

    On the other hand, while a well run tank doesn't have algal blooms you do still get minor algae on the hardscape or glass, which can be unsightly, and there are always algae spores on the leaves waiting for a moment to strike. It's hard for us to see this film but it is there. The eaters therefore do put the finishing touches on these areas of the tank and help keep the leaves healthy so overall they are definitely worth it but they are not the panacea many make them out to be.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Would fully agree with Clive, not only are most of them not what they're cracked up to be in the algae eating department they also don't always suit your stocking plans.

    I do keep various 'algae eaters' but it's only for the little bits here and there and mainly for their other characteristics, most algae on the glass is removed with a scraper when I do my water changes and I've never had a problem elsewhere.

    I have Malaysian trumpet snails, cherry shrimp and a gold spot dwarf plec. All of whom eat algae, if I had to say which was best then probably the snails; the shrimp don't touch the stuff on the glass and my plec is too big to get at the stuff on fine leaves, snails do the whole tank and help take nutrients into my substrate.

    So only get them if you value them for something other than algae eating and prevent algae/invest in an algae scraper otherwise.
     

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