Clean Up Crew Suggestions! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Question Clean Up Crew Suggestions!

So I just got 4 baby ADFs (African Dwarf Frogs, NOT CLAWED) in my planted 15g, and I can already tell that feeding them is going to cause some mess -- I'm using frozen blood worm cubes, and those get everywhere.

I don't want to have to pick individual worms out of the substrate/gravel vacuum every time, do you all have any suggestions of some compatible tank mates that will help clean up? Would normal shrimp do the job or would blood worms be bad for them?

I'd also love any suggestions on invertebrates/fish that will eat biofilm on wood, mine doesn't seem to be going away as fast as I'd like. Of course, any algae eating is an added bonus!

Bonus question, do Amano Shrimp need 6 to be comfortable/not stressed enough to eat and feel normal? Also, I know eggs won't hatch in freshwater, but will the females lay them anyways?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 07:19 AM
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Amano shrimps and snails! They don't need to be 6. I've had two in my 20g for like... 6 years. They'll have eggs and will hatch but won't survive long.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 07:29 AM
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If u have substrate: regular small snails that proliferate alot, a single assassin snail to make a populational control and shrimps. (idk relations between frog and catfish or loaches so try that)

If u dont have substrate: snails and... snails. Depends on what you have in there.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Amano shrimps and snails! They don't need to be 6. I've had two in my 20g for like... 6 years. They'll have eggs and will hatch but won't survive long.

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I'm a little sensitive to the whole eggs/fry/babies not surviving so I'll have to think about Amanos, although their reputation is amazing. I kinda have a bladder snail issue but they're not super helpful, do you recommend any specifics? Nerites?

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If u have substrate: regular small snails that proliferate alot, a single assassin snail to make a populational control and shrimps. (idk relations between frog and catfish or loaches so try that)

If u dont have substrate: snails and... snails. Depends on what you have in there.

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I have ADA Amazonia stuff. Might make a carpet if I can but I'm low tech. Do all shrimps help? Also, are blood worms ok for them? Or should I leave that to snails/fish/etc.?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 07:52 AM
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I'm a little sensitive to the whole eggs/fry/babies not surviving so I'll have to think about Amanos, although their reputation is amazing. I kinda have a bladder snail issue but they're not super helpful, do you recommend any specifics? Nerites?



I have ADA Amazonia stuff. Might make a carpet if I can but I'm low tech. Do all shrimps help? Also, are blood worms ok for them? Or should I leave that to snails/fish/etc.?
Dude, everything eats bloodworms, my shrimps loves it. Ghost shrimps are cheal and do the job (ghost shrimps, leopardsnails, assassin snail, corycatfish, loaches)

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 12:50 PM
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Another vote here for Amano shrimp - they're great fun to watch, entertaining little characters and do a great job of cleaning up. I have 3 in my small (45l) tank and they are happy and healthy together, but sure that more in a bigger tank would be even better. They're great at keeping algae in check and love rummaging through Amazonia soil (but will make a mess if you have neat little sand paths etc as they'll move the balls of soil around). They're also pretty robust little critters so relatively easy to keep happy and healthy. Prefer to hide away in the shadows during the day (well not hide, but keep out of the way anyway) but really come out to play of an evening when the lights dim down.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 04:02 PM
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Not familiar with dwarf frogs, but if they eat blood worms, would they predate any shrimp? Second the ghost shrimp suggestion, as they'll scavenge any leftover food, clean the biofilm off your wood, and eat algae. And they're so cheap, so if they do end up as frog food, no great loss--they're sold as "feeder shrimp" after all. Oto cats also graze biofilm & eat algae, and are small enough for a small group in a 15g tank.

Cories are excellent scavengers, but they prefer to be in groups so you'd wanna find the smallest ones. Or one small bristlenose pleco--they grow to 4-5" so you could only have one, but they're great scavengers of both leftovers, algae, & biofilm

Re snails: your tank is new, so your hitchhikers may reach an equilibrium over time. If not, MTS especially can explode to "Night of the Living Dead" proportions until your substrate is heaving with them. Pea puffers are small & relish snails, but don't know how they'd play with your dwarf frogs. Mine were fine for months as they gorged on the all-you-can-eat escargot buffet. Then they either got bored with snails, reached puberty, or both and turned into jackasses & started chomping of the fins of my angels & male guppies. So back to the LFS they went.

An assassin would take care of both the excess snail & leftover bloodworm problem over time. Maybe start with one, and if you get a male or non-pregnant female they won't multiply. No way to tell their gender though.

And many fish relish bloodworms and will pick them off the substrate--my guppies & mollies do that all the time. Endlers would probably do the same. Just get all males or they'll start breeding like crazy. Would the frogs eat fish fry? If so, you'd have a built in source of live food for them

Tanks are all about creating a balanced ecosystem--half the fun (and challenge) is finding out how to achieve that. Good luck and keep us posted!
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Last edited by Desert Pupfish; 07-14-2020 at 05:18 AM. Reason: typo
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Not familiar with dwarf frogs, but if they eat blood worms, would they predate any shrimp? Second the ghost shrimp suggestion, as they'll scavenge any leftover food, clean the biofilm off your wood, and eat algae. And they're so cheap, so if they do end up as frog food, no great loss--they're sold as "feeder shrimp" after all. Oto cats also graze biofilm & eat algae, and are small enough for a small group in a 15g tank.

Cories are excellent scavengers, but they prefer to be in groups so you'd wanna find the smallest ones. Or one small bristlenose pleco--they grow to 4-5" so you could only have one, but they're great scavengers of both leftovers, algae, & biofilm

Re snails: your tank is new, so your hitchhikers may reach an equilibrium over time. If not (MTS especially can explode to "Night of the Living Dead" proportions until your substrate is heaving with them. Pea puffers are small & relish snails, but don't know how they'd play with your dwarf frogs. Mine were fine for months as they gorged on the all-you-can-eat escargot buffet. Then they either got bored with snails, reached puberty, or both and turned into jackasses & started chomping of the fins of my angels & mail guppies. So back to the LFS they went.

An assassin would take care of both the excess snail & leftover bloodworm problem over time. Maybe start with one, and if you get a male or non-pregnant female they won't multiply. No way to tell their gender though.

And many fish relish bloodworms and will pick them off the substrate--my guppies & mollies do that all the time. Endlers would probably do the same. Just get all males or they'll start breeding like crazy. Would the frogs eat fish fry? If so, you'd have a built in source of live food for them

Tanks are all about creating a balanced ecosystem--half the fun (and challenge) is finding out how to achieve that. Good luck and keep us posted!
In terms of eating the shrimp, that shouldn't be a problem, the frogs are fairly ... lame at hunting. They're kinda blind and I have to wave the food right in front of their faces. It wouldn't be a huge issue is the point, which is good.

I read on another post that excess protein and stuff like blood worms can be bad for shrimp, any input on that? Otherwise, I'll probably end up going the ghost shrimp or some type of shrimp route. Do they all eat the same thing? I'd hate to hurt them.

In terms of Otos, I've also been looking into them. As long as picking up leftover food and bio film is ok for their diet, I'm game. Again, I'm sensitive (lame I know) to breeding because I want to "save" the babies, so I'd have to see if I could get all male/female whatever. Thank you for the kind comment and information! Seems like I have a lot of options
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 04:13 PM
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In terms of eating the shrimp, that shouldn't be a problem, the frogs are fairly ... lame at hunting. They're kinda blind and I have to wave the food right in front of their faces. It wouldn't be a huge issue is the point, which is good.

I read on another post that excess protein and stuff like blood worms can be bad for shrimp, any input on that? Otherwise, I'll probably end up going the ghost shrimp or some type of shrimp route. Do they all eat the same thing? I'd hate to hurt them.

In terms of Otos, I've also been looking into them. As long as picking up leftover food and bio film is ok for their diet, I'm game. Again, I'm sensitive (lame I know) to breeding because I want to "save" the babies, so I'd have to see if I could get all male/female whatever. Thank you for the kind comment and information! Seems like I have a lot of options
No experience with the others, but ghost shrimp are opportunistic scavengers--as long as they also have algae & biofilm to feed on, or you provide them supplemental shrimp food or algae wafers, they'll be fine.

Unless you've got LOTS of algae, Otos appreciate some algae wafers. They don't normally breed in a community tank, so no worries there.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 11:00 PM
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In my experience with ADFs, you might want to watch for their personalities before putting any dwarf shrimp in the tank, especially red ones like you mentioned, they are pretty poor hunters but at the same time, some of them can grow up to be quite skilled hunters as they reach maturity. I had a male and female ADF pair and the male was dorky and sweet and pretty much blind but the female was definitely not blind at all, in fact I would say she had excellent eyesight and scarily accurate lunge/aim and very aggressive towards anything she could fit in her mouth, including all my dwarf shrimp (the red ones went fast) and my chili rasbora. She decided to treat herself to many expensive meals until I gave up buying any more small fish/shrimp because she would just eat them all. The tank is now her kingdom.

Fortunately though, I have 6 amano shrimps that are smart, speedy and too big for her to catch. They've been there since the beginning and have survived it all lol! They aren't even scared of her and even bounce on her head once in a while which I find hilarious. I tweezer feed my ADF so there usually isnt much waste but the amanos always come to the tweezers for a juicy bloodworm and I give them each one as a treat. They love it, but since they are always grazing its only a small portion of their diet.

I also have an oto but it doesnt eat leftovers or waste. Just grazes on algae and I give it algae wafers, which the amano's also love and help clean up since the oto usually can't finish it all.

I would also like to add that with that many ADFs, you'll probably have a breeding pair. They will most likely breed, multitude of times with hundreds of eggs so if you are inclined to do something about that then maybe do some research beforehand so it doesnt catch you by surprise when it happens and you can prepare for it.
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Last edited by waterblossom; 07-12-2020 at 11:12 PM. Reason: Add info
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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In my experience with ADFs, you might want to watch for their personalities before putting any dwarf shrimp in the tank, especially red ones like you mentioned, they are pretty poor hunters but at the same time, some of them can grow up to be quite skilled hunters as they reach maturity. I had a male and female ADF pair and the male was dorky and sweet and pretty much blind but the female was definitely not blind at all, in fact I would say she had excellent eyesight and scarily accurate lunge/aim and very aggressive towards anything she could fit in her mouth, including all my dwarf shrimp (the red ones went fast) and my chili rasbora. She decided to treat herself to many expensive meals until I gave up buying any more small fish/shrimp because she would just eat them all. The tank is now her kingdom.

Fortunately though, I have 6 amano shrimps that are smart, speedy and too big for her to catch. They've been there since the beginning and have survived it all lol! They aren't even scared of her and even bounce on her head once in a while which I find hilarious. I tweezer feed my ADF so there usually isnt much waste but the amanos always come to the tweezers for a juicy bloodworm and I give them each one as a treat. They love it, but since they are always grazing its only a small portion of their diet.

I also have an oto but it doesnt eat leftovers or waste. Just grazes on algae and I give it algae wafers, which the amano's also love and help clean up since the oto usually can't finish it all.

I would also like to add that with that many ADFs, you'll probably have a breeding pair. They will most likely breed, multitude of times with hundreds of eggs so if you are inclined to do something about that then maybe do some research beforehand so it doesnt catch you by surprise when it happens and you can prepare for it.
Thank you so much for your response!

Long story short, I was "babysitting" ADFs from my school and they had tadpoles, which I helped raise before returning them and their children to a very excited owner lol.

But anyways I am lame so the whole eating eggs and tadpoles dying, not to mention the fact that my female seemed distressed, really got to me. I'm trying to avoid it, and my LFS says they will adopt and switch out frogs with me. I have four, and I think at least 3 are male, we'll see though. Gotta wait for them to develop.

Anyways, I'm definitely leaning towards shrimp, but maybe amanos is a better idea, size-wise (unless there are some other big guys ?).

I've heard you need 6, and my tank is only 15g, 4 frogs as I've said. Is there enough space? I don't want to overcrowd obviously.

Also I love that you call it her kingdom omg.

I'd love to get into shrimp eventually but for now, I might have to wait. For the amanos, I know their eggs can't hatch in our water, but do they lay them anyways?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 01:20 AM
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Sounds awesome, I also decided to try my hand at raising adf tadpoles from eggs that my pair laid and it was a wonderful experience but it was definitely not easy. Glad to hear it went well for you

Anyways, whew 3 males! You're gonna have some loud nights my male ADF sang almost every night with gusto lol and I personally love my amano shrimp. They've never given me any trouble and are super hard workers. They keep to themselves and clean up the tank and are very hardy. I did have ghost shrimp at one point just temporarily but my female adf ate those too and also I found that ghost shrimp seem to have a relatively short lifespan. But if that's all you can get at this point, I think it could be a good choice for a temporary clean up crew.

I'm not sure about the 6 amano shrimp info as I havent heard that before but based on what I've seen on their behavior I'd think they'd do fine even on their own. They are quite independent and the only time I see them huddle together is night time when they "sleep" and they kind of gather to one corner of the tank. But of course with community livestock it's always nice to have friends I guess. Anyways I think 15g is perfectly fine for 4 adfs and some amanos. Shrimp in general have very low bioload so you don't have to be too concerned about that.

But yes, I was pretty bummed about not being able to have a bustling community tank living in peace but I've accepted that now and I've devoted my tank to my queen frog haha

And about amanos, I've had mine for a little over 1.5 years and they've never bred yet. I have 6 but I think I happened to get almost all of them as females.

Oh yeah, make sure to have a lid on your tank. Both adfs and amanos can jump out
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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@waterblossom thank you for being so kind and helpful! I think I shall get some amano lads. I was a little worried they'd be too big, but I think their size will be fine, and the frogs will grow of course.

If the waterline is like 2 inches below the top of the tank, do I still need a lid? I'm probably going to have to make one myself or order a custom. My tank is kinda weird shaped (rounded front edges). Do you know of anywhere to get one?

Again, thank you so much for the help!!!!!!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 05:26 AM
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no problem! always glad to help. I had a bunch of questions myself when I first started and have eventually learned through experience and am happy to share

I would recommend a lid even if the waterline is low because sometimes, the frogs go up for air extremely fast and they can bounce upwards pretty high. The reason I say that is because I have a glass lid and at times, the frogs would go up for air and put way too much strength into it and slam their nose into the glass loud enough that it would make a loud banging noise. If that lid wasn't there I wouldn't be surprised if they rocketed far above the tank.

In fact, my male frog unfortunately met his demise by jumping :/ I accidentally left my tank lid open ONCE one night and the next morning I discovered he'd escaped. He somehow found his way into my dog's waterbowl in a completely different room! I was so shocked that he managed to even save himself that way and fortunately he was fine and I put him back in the tank. I think after he tasted freedom that one time, he somehow escaped again a month or two later even though the lid was on. There's a small opening near the back of the tank where the filter is. I assume that's how he managed to crawl out and escape but I never saw him again unfortunately. I have no idea what happened to him but I suppose he didn't make it to a source of water in time and eventually dried up. I've caught one amano shrimp trying to bust out as well but thankfully I saw it and caught it in time.

I would look and see if your tank brand has a lid specifically for your tank model; sometimes theyre sold separately but if they don't have one then I would recommend looking into a DIY lid. But obviously it's up to you. I've heard of people keeping their adfs in open tanks as well and they've never jumped out so I guess each frog is different. My female frog has never tried to escape to my knowledge.

Anyways, good luck on your frog keeping
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