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Old 12-31-2012, 01:36 AM   #1
kcrunch
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Default Algae eater question

After the loss I had on the first tank through observation of my plecos I noticed that they produce a ton of waste and reeked havoc on my filters. To be honest this time around I have 2 cats, a sucker mouth catfish and a synodontis in with the Cichlids and the cleaning of waste has been a heck of a lot less.

My question is does anyone know of a pleco that will get NO larger than 3-4 inches and does not produce an excessive amount of waste??

I only want one because I am noticing the sucker mouth not really getting the job done and I am doing more scraping without the plecos.. I had 2 sucker mouth cats but since the tank is rimless one jumped out and didnt make it. Either way the 2 of them were not exactly clearing a lot of algae especially since they were eating regularly during feedings.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:18 AM   #2
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Short answer, no. Adding plecos to "clean" a tank usually make it more "dirty".

Many plecos don't primarily eat algae once they are no longer tiny and others are particular about algae likes and dislikes. My plecos will chomp bba, but they they seem not to eat it, just mow it looking for real food and let the clippings clog the filter intake. Very little will even pick at that "blue-green algae" that isn't really algae, but bacteria. Only rubber-nose plecos can dent "green spot" algae because it has a hard skeleton that can permanently cloud your glass and otos will nibble brown "diatom" algae, but will not thrive in the hard, alkaline water you are most likely to find it in.

All veggies eaters make more waste per g of fish than fish higher up the food chain. Almost everything else, crustaceans, fish, bugs, scavenged dead things, eggs, have more nutritional density Lions have small droppings, cows have huge pies. Look at the calories in lettuce vs. butter. They have to eat a lot more to stay alive. Plecos also are surprisingly massive for their length, they are long, plump, and tall compared to typical streamlined torpedo-shaped fish..

Because you can't count on your "algae-eaters" getting enough food from algae growth, you throw in sinking algae tablets. They are great pleco food. But not only are they massive compared to flake, they have all this indigestible fiber that ends up stuck to your filter pad, clogging it and slowing the flow until you clean it. And these fish will not thrive without a lot of fiber. Giving them wood to chew is one way to supply it.

Bristle nose plecos do stay small and eat some algae. They are not bad to look at or in personality. A much better choice for small tanks than common or clown pleocs. But adding any fish is unlikely to make the tank "cleaner". They eat and poop and raise the nitrates which feeds more algae.

While its nice to have a bottom feeder eating up food that makes it to the substrate, even top-dwelling fish will often learn to find food on the bottom if not overfed. The "clean-up" fish whether cories or plecos are more a good marketing idea than a good stocking idea.

Last edited by emc7; 12-31-2012 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:27 AM   #3
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what kind of "sucker mouth catfish" are you talking about...kinda scares me....lol
i pretty much agree with emc.....except for what she said about my little cory friends..i loves my little cories.and my bushnoses too..lol
i have found that siamese algae eaters are one of the best with algae but do tend to eat more of the regular foods when bigger..otocinclus are fantastic little fish when it comes to eating algae and not really producing a lot of waste....but i don't think they would do well in your tank....
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:05 PM   #4
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The sucker mouth is a Gold algae eater. He is holding his own and doing well in the tank he is just not doing what he used to do in the start and especially now that he has been feeding with his tank mates. I have not tried to observe him after the lights go out but for the most part it does not seem that he is eating the algae that starts to form on the glass. When I first put him in the tank all he and his partner did was cling to the glass and you could actually see him eating as the glass would be so clean when they moved on. His buddy took a leap of faith to of the tank and died before I came back from dinner one evening.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:11 AM   #5
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1 cory to "clean up" a "community" tank is a dumb marketing idea. A shoal of cories to partrol the bottom and give you something to watch can be a good stocking idea, provided a tank isn't already overcrowded and tankmates and water are suitable.

My SAEs were great for awhile and even nibbled the hair algae & BBA, but they grew too big and boisterous for my one peaceful 55. They'd sit still all day, until feeding time, when they'd zip around eating every last flake or pellet before any other fish got a bite.

Cories and some plecos can be great, but get fish because you wan the fish, not to eat algae, as they latter seldom works over the long term.

Last edited by emc7; 01-01-2013 at 12:18 AM.
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