Increase photoperiod for algae eaters? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Increase photoperiod for algae eaters?

Considering I have recently bought 6 Oto Cats to be my cleaning crew for algae in my planted tank, would they benefit from increasing my photoperiod to say "encourage" some algae growth to have a constant supply of food for them? That way they aren't in danger of eating all the algae and run out of food? I have read that these type of fish need to eat constantly for survival...

Is this something worth doing eventually?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 03:35 AM
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Give them blanched veggies 2x a week. I supplement mine with blanched organic zucchini.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 05:53 AM
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Good on you for thinking of the welfare of your most important tank inhabitants (IMO)....
If you are worried about running out of algae (I wish!), look into growing algae on rocks outside in the sun in some tank water. I also have some algae wafers on hand for when the algae runs dry (I wish!)....

I'd be careful about doing anything to encourage algae growth in your tank, unless of course it is an otocinclus habitat tank??
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 01:05 PM
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If you are ready to increase the CO2 and ferts in your tank, then go ahead and increase the light. Otherwise you might get all sorts of different algae growing that Otos do not eat. If the right kind of algae is growing now, then improving the conditions just a bit might encourage a bit more.
Otherwise, ditto the growing algae on rocks in the sun.
Whenever you do a water change add this water to the algae growing tank.
Swap out the rocks as often as needed.
If you do not like the crop it is very easy not to add it to the tank, alter some condition and try again.

In MA I would try this in a sheltered spot, perhaps the sunniest window through the winter, or add a grow light. Ought to grow well outdoors in the warmer months.

Last edited by Diana; 11-18-2014 at 12:35 AM. Reason: *
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 04:14 PM
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Rocks work ok for growing algae, but I've found wood pieces work better in terms of speeding the rotation. I suspect the smooth surface of the rocks lets the ottos (and in my case BN plecos, shrimp and snails as well) clean all, or at least the majority, of the algae off, while wood's softer/rougher surface allows more of the algae to remain and get a jump start on regrowing.

My favorite method in fact, for feeding ottos is to drop heavy bamboo grill skewers into a tall vase. You can fit a great number of skewers into a relatively small footprint while maximizing the surface area for algae to grow on--and it's easy to remove/return skewers as they're used. When I add the skewers to the tank, I drop them in so they lean up against the tank wall and they can be tucked into even thick carpets without disturbing the plants.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 06:17 PM
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If you do anything that let's algae get a foothold, you will regret it sorely. All algae needs it a little push to make your whole tank look horrible. Then you're scraping the sides, and fighting black beard algae that nothing eats. I had to pull a LOT of plant life out due to BBA before I got it under control.

Like others said, add a bit of veggies for them once a week and remove it before it rots.

One thing I do: I leave a square patch of algae on the back of the tank that I don't wipe off for the Ottos.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Hey! I like the algae growing rock or wood idea. I may give that a try if ever run out of algae in my tank.

In the meantime I have algae wafers I can use . And I do like the vegetable idea. Those Oto's are so damn cute. Just want to make sure they stay happy.

Thanks for all the suggestions.!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 11:12 PM
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Fwiw, I find that marble chips do a better job of growing algae than most other rocks do. I think it's partly the colour and partly the texture. Smooth rock, I find, grows little to no algae, compared to those with a rougher texture. And some of the ceramic media.. the tube shaped white ones, also grow it really well.

I'm currently experimenting with differing photo periods for this reason.. to keep my Otos in alage. I find them charming and don't want them to starve and I've had little success so far with algae based foods. They don't appear to be interested in them at all. So long as I can still see my fish, I don't think I'll mind too much if there's some green on the glass. So far, they're keeping it down to reasonable levels and plants are not being over run with it either.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 01:18 AM
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Chinese Algae Eaters love zucchini also...
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