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I am starting up a planted 30 gallon tank and going all-out on the plants this time - pressurized c02, etc... I have not been able to find a general consensus of whether or algae eaters are necessary for a tank this size with the focus being on plant growth.

I intend to put in something like 8 Bloodfins, 8-10 Neons, and a German Blue Ram. If I need algae eater I could go with some amano or cherry shrimp, or an oto and take away a few tetra. I don't like to push the stocking level if I can help it.

Any help is much appreciated.
 

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I wouldn't say they are by any means mandatory. I happen to think they are nice, and personally I think amano shrimp are interesting and fun to watch anyway, but plenty of people keep planted tanks without them. Honestly, I think too many people approach these species as end-all solutions to algae, when the fact is they may help keep it under control to a degree, but will never eliminate all algae in a tank.
 

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I really like otos to keep a planted tank clean. They are pretty easy to keep and don't upset the balance. Any moderate algae outbreak though will still require you doing the cleanup though.
 

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IMO if you don't see algae, you don't need an algae-eater. I've had a 20g set up for about 2 years now with no algae eating fish at all.

I've found that Nerite snails are probably the best things to eat algae on driftwood, rocks or glass. Amanos should control most other kinds that the Nerites won't touch, but like Sven said, they'll only control algae to a certain degree.
 

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I 2nd the nerite snails - they are hard working little guys that won't reproduce in freshwater so they don't get out of control. Great little workers.
 

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I wouldn't say they are mandatory, but I have always loved my otos. They do a great job and are very fun to watch. They're almost impossible to catch with a net, but will swim right up to my hand when I'm rearranging the tank. Very cool fish, I feel like my tanks seem empty until they get a few otos :)
 

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I made the mistake of getting a pleco and not only does it not help with the algae, but munches some plants. I took it out and control the algae in other ways.
 

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I'am with lego!
Cant bring myself to torture any more algae eaters. They would mostly starve over time. Platys are also good algae eaters and the only kind I keep. They also breed fast and feed some of my more wild fish adding to their health!
MD
 

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I have had a pair of algae eaters in my tank as the only fish inhabitants.

I had gone into Petsmart to buy ottos and was persuaded by an employee to consider some regular" algae eaters because of the spectacular job they had done cleaning the store's tanks. (She said they were not the Chinese variety, and they are definitely not ottos.) Convinced by her argument, and the comparison of a clean piece of wood in the algae eater tank vs. a green-covered piece in an adjacent tank, I purchased a pair.

It turns out she was right. I have had them for two months, have never fed them, and there is no visible algae on the glass, plants, driftwood, substrate or filter parts.

These guys appear to have stronger jaws and/or sharper teeth than ottos; when I first added them to the tank I could see the "furrowed," for lack of better terms, tracks they left in the green dust algae on the glass. Conversely, ottos pass over GDA without disturbing it.

I'm totally sold on these little fish. Nothing has cleaned the tank better.
 

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Algae eaters aren't mandatory but are helpful.

I incorporate algae eaters and scavengers in all my tanks just to make my own job easier.

It's super easy to feed them; just get a veggie clip and throw in a leaf of Romaine or some other veggies every few days.
I totally agree!!
 

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Personally I would choose one schooling fish, and get a pair of rams vs. a single ram. Then add a few ottos or something, maybe a bushy nose pleco...

I have had a pair of algae eaters in my tank as the only fish inhabitants.

I had gone into Petsmart to buy ottos and was persuaded by an employee to consider some regular" algae eaters because of the spectacular job they had done cleaning the store's tanks. (She said they were not the Chinese variety, and they are definitely not ottos.) Convinced by her argument, and the comparison of a clean piece of wood in the algae eater tank vs. a green-covered piece in an adjacent tank, I purchased a pair.

It turns out she was right. I have had them for two months, have never fed them, and there is no visible algae on the glass, plants, driftwood, substrate or filter parts.

These guys appear to have stronger jaws and/or sharper teeth than ottos; when I first added them to the tank I could see the "furrowed," for lack of better terms, tracks they left in the green dust algae on the glass. Conversely, ottos pass over GDA without disturbing it.

I'm totally sold on these little fish. Nothing has cleaned the tank better.
It sounds like you have a pair of garra sp. fish. I think I spelled their name right. Invertz Factory has some at the moment I think.

Algae eaters aren't mandatory but are helpful.

I incorporate algae eaters and scavengers in all my tanks just to make my own job easier.

It's super easy to feed them; just get a veggie clip and throw in a leaf of Romaine or some other veggies every few days.
Bingo. I see them as helpers a bit. They'll clean up some and make it less a worry for me. Granted, in my 55g I have a trio of ottos and a ABN so I don't have a ton at the moment, but they're nice to have. Also have some amanos and cherry shrimp plus assorted snails.

To each their own, they won't hurt.

-Andrew
 

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I've found that Nerite snails are probably the best things to eat algae on driftwood, rocks or glass.
I agree. I'm really impressed with how clean my nerites keep the glass in my 29-gallon. Scraping glass was a regular part of my tank maintenance for all my years of fishkeeping until I added a few nerites. I've now had to scrape my glass once in the year since I've added them and that was really only for some stuff next to the gravel.
 
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