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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm looking for a good omnivorous bottom feeder to handle the detritus and left-overs in my 10 gallon tank. I bought about 20 cherry shrimp for this purpose, but sadly, my Dwarf Gourami has reduced their numbers considerably (don't worry- the survivors are going to my boyfriend's 3 gallon tank!)

Current tank residents are:
1 dwarf gourami (A+ meanie)
5 porkchop rasboras
2 otocinclus catfish

I'm shying away from snails (too much poop, too much overpopulation) and dwarf cories (inappropriate substrate) but I was wondering if anyone had some alternatives. I've heard Amano Shrimp as a recommendation, but I'm worried about them being too young and small as well. Maybe I should just add more cherry shrimp until they are so numerous that the gourami could never eat them all?

Thanks so much for your help, you guys! Lurking on this forum has been extremely helpful as I set up my tank.
 

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SAE maybe? Not sure what your algae situation is with the otos already in there but they also eat stuff off the bottom and are relentless cleaners.

Could also go with Amano shrimp that are on the large side although the Gourami will bother them too I am sure.

I think avoiding something like a nerite snail because of bioload is a radical misstep, I keep them in every tank as they are absolute power houses and the poop is negligible if you do even the bare minimum of maintenance.

What kind of substrate are you using? It's a shame you can't go with pygmy cories because they're perfect in a small tank as a school and will pick up uneaten food for sure.

OR you could always feed less and never have this issue at all as your tank inhabitants will actually be hungry whenever you feed them and will eat everything you put into the tank so that you don't have this problem at all. Hope this helps some
 

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SAE way too big for a 10g. Otos are also too big. They really need more space and bigger groups, but this is controversial, some people swear they are ok in small numbers. I disagree. When you've seen them in groups you realise that they behave much differently and more naturally. Check this out:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2aApMVZ8jWM

I use algae eating shrimp in my 11g nano. That's pretty much your only option, other than snails. Everything else is too big.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
SAE maybe? Not sure what your algae situation is with the otos already in there but they also eat stuff off the bottom and are relentless cleaners.

Could also go with Amano shrimp that are on the large side although the Gourami will bother them too I am sure.

I think avoiding something like a nerite snail because of bioload is a radical misstep, I keep them in every tank as they are absolute power houses and the poop is negligible if you do even the bare minimum of maintenance.

What kind of substrate are you using? It's a shame you can't go with pygmy cories because they're perfect in a small tank as a school and will pick up uneaten food for sure.

OR you could always feed less and never have this issue at all as your tank inhabitants will actually be hungry whenever you feed them and will eat everything you put into the tank so that you don't have this problem at all. Hope this helps some
Thanks for your response!

I'll have to do some research about nerite snails. People do tend to dismiss them because of poop and overpopulation, but maybe just one won't be an issue.

I'm using CaribSea Eco-Complete (Robot Check) for my substrate. It looks like its right on the line where it be uncomfortable for cories.

Feeding less is, of course, the obvious choice, ha. However, with where my filter is positioned, it tends to blow food around, and at least some always falls to the bottom.

Thanks again!
 

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My horned nerites have been really great, and I also have a few of the standard olive nerites. The horned nerites are small, but they're pretty big eaters for their size. They are able to clean even flimsy stalks and stems because of their light-weight. You will not have a problem with their waste if you use a total of about 10-12. You might be fine with more or less, but I keep about 10 horned and 3 olive nerites in a 16 gal and that has been perfect.

I'm also looking into "chopstick" snails for a substrate burrower. They don't get as large as the rabbit snails and they are fairly inexpensive. I do not know if they would be suitable for the size of eco-complete. If anyone knows the best way to keep the chopsticks, please let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Eco Complete is perfectly fine for cories, don't worry about that. I've kept them in it for years.
Excellent! They are super cute, and I wouldn't want to hurt them inadvertently. I am a little worried that I won't be able to give them enough space or schooling buddies. I don't want to overstock the tank...

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My horned nerites have been really great, and I also have a few of the standard olive nerites. The horned nerites are small, but they're pretty big eaters for their size. They are able to clean even flimsy stalks and stems because of their light-weight. You will not have a problem with their waste if you use a total of about 10-12. You might be fine with more or less, but I keep about 10 horned and 3 olive nerites in a 16 gal and that has been perfect.

I'm also looking into "chopstick" snails for a substrate burrower. They don't get as large as the rabbit snails and they are fairly inexpensive. I do not know if they would be suitable for the size of eco-complete. If anyone knows the best way to keep the chopsticks, please let us know.
Thanks for the response! I might end up getting snails after all. My prejudice against them seems like it was totally unfounded.

Good luck getting info on your chopstick snails!
 

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SAE way too big for a 10g. Otos are also too big. They really need more space and bigger groups,
^this. My shoal of otos in the 55g school and hang together all the time, they are much happier in a proper group.
If you want a cleaner it called your hand and a wet paper towel/siphon and water change. If you're worried about excess food and that's why you want a bottom feeder then cut back on food portions and revisit the method in which you feed. You can consider a snail like nerite or mystery but imo they are not worth it for the massive amount of poop they produce.
If your dwarf gourami is being aggressive you probably don't have a densly planted tank (I mean cannot see front to back or from side to side) including floating plants or tall plants that reach to the surface for line of sight break up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^this. My shoal of otos in the 55g school and hang together all the time, they are much happier in a proper group.
If you want a cleaner it called your hand and a wet paper towel/siphon and water change. If you're worried about excess food and that's why you want a bottom feeder then cut back on food portions and revisit the method in which you feed. You can consider a snail like nerite or mystery but imo they are not worth it for the massive amount of poop they produce.
If your dwarf gourami is being aggressive you probably don't have a densly planted tank (I mean cannot see front to back or from side to side) including floating plants or tall plants that reach to the surface for line of sight break up.
Thanks for your feedback!

I think I might have mischaracterized my interest in getting a bottom feeder. While the tank cleanliness is a big plus, I would never buy an animal for convenience. I'm trying to accomplish a 'garden like' environment with my tank, with animals that occupy various niches, as you would find in a natural environment...something as close to a closed system as possible. I'm very remorseful about accidentally introducing cherry shrimp into a dangerous environment, and have clearly made a mistake with including otos, though my research indicated that would be a good animal for a nano tank. One of the reasons why I turned to this forum, in addition to reading articles about bottom feeders, is that I wanted to ensure that I got an animal that would thrive, rather than merely live, in my tank.

I'm new to this hobby (this is my first tank) but I really do want to put something together that is both beautiful and humane.
 

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I hate to kind of nit pick but above you mentioned not wanting snails or cories but now you want a niche role Eco system? Those are both perfect for that AND serve the purpose you're looking for.

IME bio load is not important AT ALL if you take water changes and filtration seriously and have a healthy number of plants in the tank.

My 2 cents


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Also keep in mind how dumb fish are... If you treat them right, give them enough space and don't scare them they will feel at home and can definitely thrive, and it sounds like you're willing to put the effort in to make that happen.


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Feeding less is, of course, the obvious choice, ha. However, with where my filter is positioned, it tends to blow food around, and at least some always falls to the bottom.
You can turn your filter off for feeding, this is what I do. About 15 mins allows fish to finish everything before filter back on.

Edit: Even less is fine, like 5 mins even. I meant no longer than 15mins to keep beneficial bacteria oxygenated.
 

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I'm getting ready to sell my zebra danios since they prefer a bigger and longer tank because of how crazy they are. I feel like they have adhd... lol. Anyways, once I sell them I'm thinking of getting calmer fish like CPD. I'm also looking into otocinclus affinis which I think you should consider as well. They are algae eaters. One thing to keep in mind is that they are harder to keep... I wouldn't mind the challenge! Main thing that worries me most is that they are sensitive to water changes. Just means I gotta have solid temperatures and no drastic swings in the water conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I hate to kind of nit pick but above you mentioned not wanting snails or cories but now you want a niche role Eco system? Those are both perfect for that AND serve the purpose you're looking for.

IME bio load is not important AT ALL if you take water changes and filtration seriously and have a healthy number of plants in the tank.

My 2 cents


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Fair enough! It's not that I didn't want cories (they are super cute!) but I was worried that a) my substrate would hurt them and b) my tank wouldn't support a large enough school to make them feel safe. For snails, I was worried that even frequent water changes wouldn't be able to keep pace with the poop. It seems like I wrote them off prematurely.

I'm pretty religious about water changes and keeping my filter clean, but my plants may need to grow in a bit more before I add any other fish. I'm starting to think that snails may be the way to go. I'm also going to start turning off the filter when I feed the little guys, so that should also cut down on waste.

Thanks again!
 

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I think snails get a bad rap in terms of waste bc it's a lot but Jesus they clean so much it makes it worth while. Since you're good about maintenance, you can keep whatever you want in there man (obviously within reason).

My 30 gallon heavily planted tank has about 60 fish and hundreds of shrimp and snails, does fantastic because i take maintenance seriously. And the snails have been a godsend for me in there


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