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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my 20 gallon tank, no matter what, even after weekly water changes, there is always detritus built up on and in the substrate. It seems to be plant matter and fish waste. I have 3 otos in my cleaning crew but they dont seem to help the problem. In fact, they poop a lot and sometimes i think add to the mess. They just love the glass and leaves in my tank. That's it. What are some fish or inverts to get for a good cleaning crew? I have an open top so I always try to avoid species that might jump out. Like I'm always afraid shrimp would jump out. Also I have hair algae in my tank so if anything eats that, that is a plus. Otos dont care for it. And if you can tell me species that are easy to find at a lfs, nothing too crazy or rare please.
 

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Corys are great for what you need. You could get a school of 6-7 pygmy corys or other small types. They do NOT eat the fish waste, however, what they do is during their foraging they break up the waste into small pieces allowing it to be broken down faster or sucked up by the filter.

For example my 20g has no corys and the waste build up is quite noticeable. I have to give the tank a good gravel vac every WC to keep it clean. My 29g however, has 6 juli cories and I never see any fish waste. They break it up, which makes it decompose faster or get picked up in the current.

And for dead plant material, I have watched my female platys, nerite snails and ramshorn snails munch down on the dead material.
 

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I hate to do this, because I've been plenty annoyed by answers like this in the past, but at the same time I want to make sure you get the most accurate information possible...

In the long run, you'll be better off addressing the issue of waste/detritus directly, by working on your water movement, than by trying to get a cleaning crew alone. I would consider adding a small powerhead and placing it to provide more water movement along the bottom of the tank. Others here can probably help you with more specifics as to what kind of powerhead would be appropriate for this size tank and how to place it for the best flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've already recently added a powerhead for more movement in the tank but i still need a little crew to help me out. Corys sound good. I have my otos but they just helped in the beginning with my diatom problem. Now they seem to just suck on the glass contently but not really do anything noticeable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have my powerhead at the top with the flow reduced down a bit and I point it downward, diagonal like. For instance my Aquaclear hob is on the left and makes a downward flow on the left. Then I have my powerhead on the top on the right side wall of the tank,more towards the back corner. From there I point it towards the front left bottom corner and this seems to make a nice perfect flow through out the tank. All the plants sway nice and gently while my co2 mist is scattered throughout the whole tank.
 
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