Bottom Feeders for Large Planted Tanks? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Bottom Feeders for Large Planted Tanks?

What should I add to the tank to help clean up any excess food and munch on algae?
Pleco? Cory Cats? Amano Shrimp? Snails (that don't breed like crazy)?
Obviously, nothing that digs around and moves/uproots plants.
Tank is 143 gallons.

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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 02:11 PM
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No plecos. Nasty things. Cory s definitely. Cories don't like it hot, I keep my tropicals at 73.

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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 04:29 PM
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Are you planning for this in your discus tank? It changes what you can use substantially if going to be 80+ degrees.
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 05:08 PM
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Actually, I am really partial to Pleco's... so I would say that if cleaning up bottom and algae control is your goal, a larger omnivorous Pleco( like a Blue or Green Phantom) or a few Bristlenose pleco's is much better than a group of corydoras.

If this is a discus tank as mentioned, corydoras species are not a good choice. With the exception of a couple corydoras species that are very difficult and expensive to source, most need temperatures below 78 degrees and their lives are drastically shortened at discus temperatures.
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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 05:18 PM
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Corys don't really eat algae much. What kind of tank is this? community? If it is only small peaceful fish otocinclus catfish are really cute and do a great job. BNs are also really good.

75 gallon planted tank. About to stock.
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 05:59 PM
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IMO, there is not any clean up crew that really makes a meaningful dent in algae. The way to control algae is finding the right balance of everything else (ferts/CO2/Light/Maintenance).

The problem with some is that they create more waste than is worth it. BN Pleco's are a good example. They don't really do much for algae, and they are prolific at creating waste. I once kept three good sized ones (4 to 5"). When I removed them I noticed an immediate effect on my Nitrate readings, and a reduction in algae.

SAE's eat algae when they are young, but they grow quick and then prefer food. Oto's eat some algae as well, but you would need an army of them to make a dent in a tank that size.

Right now I don't keep a single algae eater or clean up crew. Tank is better and easier to care for than ever (notwithstanding my oil disaster). IME, you are better off controlling/limiting feedings rather than worrying about a clean up crew. Overfeeding is probably under discussed and a major source of dissolved organics in many tanks. Most fish need far less than most provide.

Now snails and shrimp I have little experience with. I've tried them but my mix of fish made short work of them. Some swear by them, and others say they really don't do much. I have no idea which is true.

In general, I would say choose what you like to keep and enjoy watching, but don't expect any of them to replace the need for good maintenance habits.

As usual, just my personal experience.
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Actually, I am really partial to Pleco's... so I would say that if cleaning up bottom and algae control is your goal, a larger omnivorous Pleco( like a Blue or Green Phantom) or a few Bristlenose pleco's is much better than a group of corydoras.
I've read that plecos will munch on cichlid eggs. What has been your experience with your discus? Plan is to breed my angels, so don't want my clean up crew to develop a taste for caviar... That said, I'm told plecos & nerites are the best at removing green dust & green spot algae--which I've got in abundance on the tank walls. Wondering if that's been others' experience? The used tank I got must have some scratched or abraded sides, as the algae is a bear to get off. So if plecos would do the trick and not bother the angel eggs I'd give 'em a try. Added some assassins to keep the MTS under control, so not sure if the nerites would end up on their menu

A mix of otos, ghost shrimp & snails (just MTS now after the puffer eliminated everything else) have done a good job of keeping algae off the plants. Now I just need critters that will help keep the glass clean...
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 06:34 PM
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The question is: Did you want bottom fish entirely for cleaning up and algae control? If so, there are better methods as mentioned.

If your intent was to also have fish in your aquarium that will eat algae and food on the bottom- plecos are excellent choices. My adult BN's are omnivorous, they eat algae and food that has fallen to bottom of tank.

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Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
I've read that plecos will munch on cichlid eggs. What has been your experience with your discus? Plan is to breed my angels, so don't want my clean up crew to develop a taste for caviar... That said, I'm told plecos & nerites are the best at removing green dust & green spot algae--which I've got in abundance on the tank walls. Wondering if that's been others' experience? The used tank I got must have some scratched or abraded sides, as the algae is a bear to get off. So if plecos would do the trick and not bother the angel eggs I'd give 'em a try. Added some assassins to keep the MTS under control, so not sure if the nerites would end up on their menu

A mix of otos, ghost shrimp & snails (just MTS now after the puffer eliminated everything else) have done a good job of keeping algae off the plants. Now I just need critters that will help keep the glass clean...
Plecos will eat any eggs they come upon- yes.

But, if that is not a concern, they will keep your tank walls spic and span.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 07:07 PM
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Adding a pleco to keep your tank clean of algae is like "Cutting off the nose to spite the face" Even if they remove some algae from surfaces they will create more waste, which will increase the organics in the water column creating more algae issues. If your flow moves it all to the filter (which won't happen), once in the filter it is still part of the water column (until you change the filter) and will increase organics in the tank.

Other than that, if you haven't guessed, I really like plecos.
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-27-2019, 08:22 PM
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Since I am pretty sure we are talking about the discus tank, I did some reading and there are folks that have been keeping amano's succesfully with discus in the lower 80s. So not really discus breeding temperatures but still within their comfort zone. The key apparently was getting adult amano's that are larger then 1". I have 2 adult amano's in my spec V right now and that is definitely too many for such a tank. I actually feed heavy right now just so the amano's can get some food. They picked all the algae off of every plant and continuously circle looking for anything else.

As for snails, personally I like snails quite a bit and am trying to cultivate some ramshorn snails right now. To my mind they look great and their breeding is not so crazy that they can't be controlled if you feel they are getting out of hand. Plus if you get all blues then you can sell the babies for some money to recoup other expenses.

If you want snails that absolutely won't breed in your tank then its nerites. They also do a great job on algae control. I find they do better on rocks and wood then the glass, but the glass is easier to clean. The downside is these things lay eggs that look like little sesame seeds everywhere. They will pepper your wood, your glass, your rocks, your plants, your substrate, everything. And they are annoying to scrape off. I have 3 in my spec v and I will never own another one again. I rather have baby snails then eggs that never hatch and are hard to remove.
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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Plecos will eat any eggs they come upon- yes.

But, if that is not a concern, they will keep your tank walls spic and span.
Thanks, Amy. Spic & span glass sounds good to me! Since the plan is to get a 75 G at the next Petco DPG sale, I'll have one breeding tank & one grow out tank--so a place to rehome plecos at spawning time .

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Adding a pleco to keep your tank clean of algae is like "Cutting off the nose to spite the face" Even if they remove some algae from surfaces they will create more waste, which will increase the organics in the water column creating more algae issues. If your flow moves it all to the filter (which won't happen), once in the filter it is still part of the water column (until you change the filter) and will increase organics in the tank.

Other than that, if you haven't guessed, I really like plecos.
Anything that means less time scrubbing my glass is a plus in my book. Couldn't you just lower your water column dosing to adjust for the poop factor? That and regular WC should keep dissolved organics under control, no? I dose Thrive weekly and try to do a 20% WC twice weekly, and my only serious algae issues are on the glass. Otos graze on it but don't clear it, nor do the ghost shrimp or MTS.

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If you want snails that absolutely won't breed in your tank then its nerites. They also do a great job on algae control. I find they do better on rocks and wood then the glass, but the glass is easier to clean. The downside is these things lay eggs that look like little sesame seeds everywhere. They will pepper your wood, your glass, your rocks, your plants, your substrate, everything. And they are annoying to scrape off. I have 3 in my spec v and I will never own another one again. I rather have baby snails then eggs that never hatch and are hard to remove.
So none of your fish eat the nerite eggs? I've got 3 assassins, and periodically see their eggs on my glass, but they don't last long. What happens if you just leave the nerite eggs there? If nobody eats them, won't they eventually hatch, but the larvae won't live because they need migrate to brackish water?
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Last edited by Desert Pupfish; 10-28-2019 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Update
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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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So ummm... back to my tank.
Pleco and octo fish?

I use a magnet for the glass. No livestock ever cleans the glass well enough.
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 02:14 AM
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Anything that means less time scrubbing my glass is a plus in my book. Couldn't you just lower your water column dosing to adjust for the poop factor? That and regular WC should keep dissolved organics under control, no? I dose Thrive weekly and try to do a 20% WC twice weekly, and my only serious algae issues are on the glass. Otos graze on it but don't clear it, nor do the ghost shrimp or MTS.
The inorganic salts we add to the WC are pretty much irrelevant, it's the organic decomposition of ammonia, urea and other toxins that are the issue, Yes water changes help, but your doing those anyway in hi-tech so yeah you could do more, but the waste from livestock is continous and even water changes won't remove it quick enough to be acted upon by algae, not to mention all the waste that will fall into the nooks, pores of all the hardscape that you won't remove.

Keeping high-tech pristine as possible is the way to avoid algae and have more wiggle room with light, plant mass, etc.
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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 03:05 AM
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Thanks, Amy. Spick & span glass sounds good to me! Since the plan is to get a 75 G at the next Petco DPG sale, I'll have one breeding tank & one grow out tank--so a place to rehome plecos at spawning time .



Anything that means less time scrubbing my glass is a plus in my book. Couldn't you just lower your water column dosing to adjust for the poop factor? That and regular WC should keep dissolved organics under control, no? I dose Thrive weekly and try to do a 20% WC twice weekly, and my only serious algae issues are on the glass. Otos graze on it but don't clear it, nor do the ghost shrimp or MTS.



So none of your fish eat the nerite eggs? I've got 3 assassins, and periodically see their eggs on my glass, but they don't last long. What happens if you just leave the nerite eggs there? If nobody eats them, won't they eventually hatch, but the larvae won't live because they need migrate to brackish water?
Not in my tank sadly. I have a betta, some endlers, and amano shrimp plus the nerites of course. Nothing eats the eggs. Even if they do hatch they leave a residue behind the same size as the egg and annoying to scrub off.
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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by d2creative View Post
So ummm... back to my tank.
Pleco and octo fish?

I use a magnet for the glass. No livestock ever cleans the glass well enough.
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack your thread. IME otos are great on cleaning algae off plants, but not the glass. Plecos have raspy teeth to scour hard surfaces--friends with acrylic tanks complain that they scratch the acrylic & make it cloudy. Just got a juvenile BN pleco, so I can report back how he does on the glass....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
The inorganic salts we add to the WC are pretty much irrelevant, it's the organic decomposition of ammonia, urea and other toxins that are the issue, Yes water changes help, but your doing those anyway in hi-tech so yeah you could do more, but the waste from livestock is continous and even water changes won't remove it quick enough to be acted upon by algae, not to mention all the waste that will fall into the nooks, pores of all the hardscape that you won't remove.

Keeping high-tech pristine as possible is the way to avoid algae and have more wiggle room with light, plant mass, etc.
Wouldn't a large growing plant mass compete with the algae for the available NH3, urea, and other nutrients (dosed or not)? Mine is a low tech tank, but it's the total amount of nutrients and what plant life (plants vs algae) you have to utilize them, no?
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