I have a 28 gal. tank that has been established about 2months now and I notice that there is a lot of
algae forming. Is it a good idea to get an algae eater fish? I would rather do it naturally than using more chemicals.
Yes, of course it would be better to buy an algae eater then buying algaecides. No question about it. Depending on the sizes of your fish, there are quite a few algae eaters to choose from for a 28 gallon tank. If most of your fish are rather large as for a 28 gallon tank, then get a smaller algae eater, and if your fish are few and rather small, you could get some larger algae eater (by larger I mean up to around 5" - I wouldn't get a larger one for a 28 gallon tank). I hear Otos are very good as well as very small - a couple of them would clean your tank nicely. But they need a supplementary diet as well and good water quality. Siamese Flying Fox (up to about 5") is effective at eating all types of algae and should be kept alone (not in a group of Siamese Algae Eaters). A bristlenose Catfish is also effective from what I hear and grow a bit larger than the Siamese Flying Fox. If you decide to buy the Siamese Flying Fox, beware that there are many algae eaters confused with it. Here is an explanation on what to look for in a true Siamese Flying Fox (scroll down and read thoroughly): . Hope that helps.
P.S. Besides, all algae eaters will need some additional food (sinking algae tablets for example).
Algae is usually caused from an over abundance of nutrients. More frequent water changes can help you get the algae in hand and a small algae eater would love to help you clean up the algae you already have .
With the fish you have I would suggest a bristlenode catfish also called a bristlenose pleco. Clown Loaches are usually a little too boisterous for otos. with the bioload you have in your tank at this time your algae eater needs to be small.
Carol, I perform 50% water changes twice a week in my 30 gallon tank (because, as you know, it's overstocked ... for now), and my nitrate there stays withing the range of 5-10. I have no algae there EXCEPT for the black brush algae, which my "Chinese" algae eater does not eat. As for my 10 gallon tank, I perform about 50% weekly water changes in it (once a week). It's very lightly stocked and nitrate is at 0 there (sometimes it may show a deeper yellow color, but rarely falling into orange). YET I have LOTS of green algae there! I feed the fish in the 10 gallon tank minuscule amounts twice a day (morning and evening). I have no algae eater there but with the size and frequency of water changes, and with such light feedings, I should have no algae there.
Steviebutch here is a great article on algae-http://www.plantgeek.net/article_viewer.php?id=9.
Isabella I know you've read this article before, and in it states, "Good algae is present in small quantities, is indicative of good water quality and is easily kept in check by algae eating fish or simple removal during routine maintenance. This algae is a natural consequence of having a container of water with nutrients and a light source." (quoted from www.plantgeek.net) So thats all I can come up with for the algae in your tank
I understood that Steviebutch was having a much worse algae problem and his tank is a little overstocked and so is carrying a heavier bioload. the heavier bioload can in itself cause an algae problem that bigger/more frequent water changes can help. thats also why I recommended a small algae eater. Steve I think it's great you want to get rid of teh algae naturally and not with chemicals. Chemicals to get rid of algae can sometimes kill your fish.
OK Carol, thanks . I know I'll eventually need some algae eater in the 10G. So far, I've been regularly putting my Chinese guy in there to do the job, and he always does it without any reserve, lol. 1 - 2 days, and the tank glass is sparkling clean!