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Well...are they any help in getting a planted tank established without major algae issues? I want to set up a 20 gallon high low tech tank with floating plants and LOTS of vallisneria, and when I added the plants after the tank is thoroughly cycled I was going to add algae eaters (likely nerite snails) to keep any budding algae in check until the plants were established enough to outcompete it. I was still going to do the normal planted tank maintenance (water changes, Thrive C for fertilizer, perhaps a half dose of excel) and was going to use a walstad-esque photoperiod of 4 hours on, 4 off, 4 on. Thank you for your thoughts :)
 

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Shrimp. Amanos do the most work and neos are the most fun.

If you don’t want a shrimp colony, then go with amanos since they won’t reproduce. There’s nothing that compares to shrimp, except OCD level maintenance for that first algae bloom.
 

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Seconding amanos. I have 3 amanos in my 30cm low tech cube and they took it from Very Impacted to Practically Pristine in about a week. I also have a nerite in there, but they are much less active than the amanos in my experience (although still fun).
 

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Snails. Mystery, nerite even rams horn. Then ottos (otocinclus). That’s all you’ll probably ever need unless you get/have bba (black beard/brush algae) which nothing will eat.

Ive never actually seen cherries or crystal shrimp do any helpful form of algae removal. I have heard aminos do but I think that’s mainly conjecture due to their busy nature causing a placebo effect.
 

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I've had many algae eaters, but none do a better job than ramshorn snails. I always used to struggle with algae on the glass & plants untill ramshorn snail eggs were smuggled in on a plant. Ever since I haven't seen so much as a spec. I actually threw away my algae scraper because it literally has no use to me.

alot of people don't like the look of them, but they save me so much trouble and their population remains stable so long as you don't over feed. They wont touch things like hair algae, though not much will.

I wouldn't recommend nerite snails to be honest, they look nice but they're big and clumsy, lay white eggs over everything and only last around two years or so. The eggs they lay are rock hard will never hatch because they need brackish water.
 

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Snails, shrimp, and otos keep my glass spotless. I don't use my scraper on my 75 anymore.

I will echo the sentiments on Nerites. While they look cool, they are like having elephants in your tank. They are what I'd call a "heavy" snail. They don't use an air bladder like pond snails or bladder and mystery snails, so they flatten your plants. They also lay a LOT of white eggs all over. I've seen a 3 inch mystery snail climb up a thin leaf and not bend it in the slightest...
 
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I'll parrot a few others here. Amano's are awesome (both as cleanup crew and to watch). Mine seem to molt a lot (growing fast) which at first I thought it was dead shrimps! Nerite snails also great since they don't breed in freshwater. If you have snail eaters in the tank like loaches or puffers, you might be able to get away with others and avoid them from overtaking the tank. Years ago I had a trumpet snail infestation that took forever to get under control.
 

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Amanos and two bristlenose plecos keep my 90g tank spotless. Only challenge has been that since adding large discus both the amanos and plecos are hesitant to come out. They clearly are still doing so at night though.
 

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My Nerite, whose name is Schnell, which is German for fast, isn’t clumsy and is quite handsome. You have hurt his feelings. BUT, until I read this thread I didn’t realize that all snails weren’t heavy. So, Schnell is now sharing a tank with my Betta, because his algae consumption isn’t up to par in the bigger planted tank.

My crystal ball is showing some Amanos and another type of snail in my future. (If I solve my GH problem, but that will be a new thread when I find the right forum.)
 
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