Anyone temporarily use Ottos in new tank for inital algae?

Fishstery

Hey guys!

In my new dutch tank I managed to tackle BGA but as that died off I'm starting to get the beginning stages of filamentous diatoms. While there's quite a few threads posted across the various aquarium forums about issues with filamentous diatoms, very few ever updated the threads with successful treatments and advice on dealing with it is far and few between.

It seems filamentous diatoms are a bit different than the typical new tank dust diatoms and the filamentous type can hang around for quite some time. In order to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand, I'm going to try spot dosing with APT fix, and dim my lights to about 60%. The photo period is already at 5 hours and has been since setup so I know light duration isn't the issue.

I read about how ottos absolutely love diatoms so I went ahead and bought 3 on aquatic arts and 5 crystal red shrimps to see if they might eat it up for me.

I know long term a 5 gal (shallow so large footprint) isn't adequate tank size for them. So eventually I plan on moving them over to another mature tank after a while. I'm going to keep them in this tank until it becomes more stable and I don't have to worry about algae. Currently there is tons for them to eat between the diatoms, melted BGA and dying leaves (although I remove the melted plant matter as it shows up). But at some point in this tank they will run out of algae as a food source and will need to be suppementally fed. At that point ill just move them over to another larger tank and feed them algae eater pellets.

Has anyone ever used ottos just to clean up algae and then moved them to a different home permanently? I'm hoping this works for me since i forsee some more algae problems is I continue to dial in my light/fert/co2 setup. It would be nice to have them in there to eat everything as it happens so my plants can grow healthy and stable enough to prevent future algae.

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MacZ

Algae come and go in a newly setup tank. It takes months for a tank to balance out.

Adding Otos just for that temporary purpose is a. nonsense and b. counts as borderlining animal cruelty to me.

When the algae are eaten the fish will starve without supplementory feeding and that leads to further imbalances in nutrients leading to a spiral of exactly the problems you want to solve.

Just let the tank run its course and if something crops up, look for the root problem and don't resolve to (ab-)using animals.
Put the Otos in another, established tank or, if still possible, cancel your order!

There are plenty of people here on the forum that can help you with solving your problems without such questionable measures.
 

Fishstery

Algae come and go in a newly setup tank. It takes months for a tank to balance out.

Adding Otos just for that temporary purpose is a. nonsense and b. counts as borderlining animal cruelty to me.

When the algae are eaten the fish will starve without supplementory feeding and that leads to further imbalances in nutrients leading to a spiral of exactly the problems you want to solve.

Just let the tank run its course and if something crops up, look for the root problem and don't resolve to (ab-)using animals.
Put the Otos in another, established tank or, if still possible, cancel your order!

There are plenty of people here on the forum that can help you with solving your problems without such questionable measures.
How would that be animal abuse? It's no different than housing them in a QT tank, or in a tank at a pet store. It's temporary. I have larger more mature tanks already. They are just going to be in there for a week or 2. This tank isn't far outside their care requirements other than tank size, and they aren't even fully grown. They are juvinelles. It's dramatic to tell me I'm abusing animals. For what that's worth you might as well say the entire aquarium trade is animal cruelty.

How would them eating algae cause nutrient imbalances? Did you even read my whole thread? I pointed out that I am aware that they exhaust their food sources quickly and need to be supplementally fed. And I noted at that point they will be moved to another tank.
 

Bgreen82

I think there is a miscommunication here. To my understanding, this is a cycled, growing out tank, correct? If so, I don’t see an issue with bringing them in to eat. Like you stated, and MacZ reiterated, just keep an eye out and move them back over before the food gets low.
 

Fishstery

I think there is a miscommunication here. To my understanding, this is a cycled, growing out tank, correct? If so, I don’t see an issue with bringing them in to eat. Like you stated, and MacZ reiterated, just keep an eye out and move them back over before the food gets low.
Yeah its a year old mature tank that I rescaped and converted to high tech. It's on week 4 of the rescape, fully cycled. The water is as pristine as it can be considering I use RO and it's kept within caridina shrimp parameters. My intent for them wasn't to grow them out here, just to eat up my algae which is bountiful and then move them to one of my low tech which are both over 2 years old and have all types of algae and biofilm. It's true that I only bought them to eat algae out of this tank but that doesn't mean I'm going to neglect them after this. They are simply getting a good meal for a few weeks until they move into a more spacious home.
 

John58ford

I occasionally move snails or Otto's from tank to tank as required. If they are going to be a permanent member of your fish room I don't see anything wrong with that. You need to be careful of cross contamination though, I have several water systems that never touch each other, and some that are on the recieve only list so I wouldn't be able to take a fish back out of one of those without a 8-10 week qt and re-acclimation. If that's all considered, give them a try, I love my Otto's, my amano shrimp are a bit faster with filiment/thread stuff though
 

DerekO24

I bought 3 ottos a year or so ago to help my plants. In 1 night they made a huuuge difference. Since then I have the same 3 and they keep the tank looking good. I think a lot of times when you buy them from a shop they’re starved. Which is bad for them. But good for a hobbyist looking to get algae off their plants.
 

Fishstery

I occasionally move snails or Otto's from tank to tank as required. If they are going to be a permanent member of your fish room I don't see anything wrong with that. You need to be careful of cross contamination though, I have several water systems that never touch each other, and some that are on the recieve only list so I wouldn't be able to take a fish back out of one of those without a 8-10 week qt and re-acclimation. If that's all considered, give them a try, I love my Otto's, my amano shrimp are a bit faster with filiment/thread stuff though
I bought 3 ottos a year or so ago to help my plants. In 1 night they made a huuuge difference. Since then I have the same 3 and they keep the tank looking good. I think a lot of times when you buy them from a shop they’re starved. Which is bad for them. But good for a hobbyist looking to get algae off their plants.
Thanks for letting me know! From what I could dig up about filamentious diatoms, they are aggressive growers and can quickly cover the entire tank. They are also take forever to get rid of and there's not even a lot of info on how to go about doing that. I'm really hoping the ottos like it. It's super soft algae it comes off in strings like hair algae but completely disintegrates if you rub it between your fingers. When all is said and done I will probably move them over to my "forgotten tank" which is a 2 year old 10 gal I toss random unused plants in and keep my emergency seeded sponge filters. The only inhabitants are 2 3 year old nerites that i didn't have the heart to get rid of after pulling them from a display tank and 2 gardneri killifish. They were unintentionally bred 3 and a half years ago, they somehow became dwarfs and are literally just mini killies (bigger than a neon tetra but smaller than a rummynose) . They are well over their natural lifespan and I only keep this tank up for them. I don't even scrape the glass in it anymore, just weekly 50% WCs. There's so much algae in that tank it's really ugly hahaha! But again it's literally the aquarium equivalent of a retirement home and perfect for some ottos because of all the bio media and anubias. Alternatively I could put the ottos in my 29 gal but there's 4 pea puffers in there with some cardinal tetras and I really don't want the ottos getting picked on. The plant mass is so dense in there though it would probably he hard for them to bump into each other.
 

Mudminnow

I've had filamentous diatom algae in several new planted aquariums. In my experience, the filamentous diatom algae is much like the film type diatom algae. It commonly shows up in new planted tanks, and often goes away on its own in weeks to months. I know your tank is not new, only newly high tech, but I think it should play out the same way.

It's true that otos love diatoms, but I've found they do better eating the film types. Plus, personally, I think a 5 gallon is too small for otos as they can be touchy and seem to do much better in larger schools.

The cherry shrimps might nibble at it...but they won't impact it much.

If you want a good algae eater for it for a small tank--get Amano shrimp. You'll need a few of them until your tank stabilizes, even in your small tank. But, in my experience, they gobble the stuff down.
 

Fishstery

I've had filamentous diatom algae in several new planted aquariums. In my experience, the filamentous diatom algae is much like the film type diatom algae. It commonly shows up in new planted tanks, and often goes away on its own in weeks to months. I know your tank is not new, only newly high tech, but I think it should play out the same way.

It's true that otos love diatoms, but I've found they do better eating the film types. Plus, personally, I think a 5 gallon is too small for otos as they can be touchy and seem to do much better in larger schools.

The cherry shrimps might nibble at it...but they won't impact it much.

If you want a good algae eater for it for a small tank--get Amano shrimp. You'll need a few of them until your tank stabilizes, even in your small tank. But, in my experience, they gobble the stuff down.
I already ordered them so I might as well try now. But don't worry, if they don't seem to pick at it I will drip acclimate them over to my low tech and get 3 more to make 6. They can go to town on that tank in a proper shoal lol! That's my long term plan for them anyways. I'm glad to have someone else I can actually talk to about the filamentous type. I haven't experienced it yet in my years with planted tanks and definitely panicked after seeing the damage it can do. Not to mention it's made a handful of people completely give up and tear apart their tanks to restart after months of it not going away. I work full time and maintain my house and other personal matters so I just don't have time to do daily water changes and algae removal sessions so I have to turn to alternative measures to assist me in keeping it from taking over my tank. I really wouldn't mind amanos as I still keep them in my other high tech if you remember they did a great job helping me deal with the initial algae breakout in that tank and still go a great job of keeping it clean. But unfortunately I've learned them to be a bit jumpy for the first few weeks adjusting to co2 injection and I dont have a lid on this tank like I do on the other one. I know for a fact they would just end up on my floor. They're much better jumpers than other dwarf shrimp and even more than some fish. I did order a glass lid for this tank since my female betta made a jump the other night, but because of my canister pipes I cant have it cover all gaps so there will be an open gap across the front and back panels of the tank. It can help lessen the chance of a jump outside the tank but can't prevent it altogether. I'm going to keep spot dosing with APT fix until the shrimp and ottos come and see if that helps slow it down. It gets worse every day. I can spend a few minutes pulling it off my carpet but it's pretty much spread to everything except my rotala. Even my Alternanthera has it and for me those plants have been doing exceptionally well. At some point if it gets worse it's going to start choking my plants out and then I won't have a choice but to spend more money to replant what I lose.
 

Mudminnow

I already ordered them so I might as well try now. But don't worry, if they don't seem to pick at it I will drip acclimate them over to my low tech and get 3 more to make 6. They can go to town on that tank in a proper shoal lol! That's my long term plan for them anyways. I'm glad to have someone else I can actually talk to about the filamentous type. I haven't experienced it yet in my years with planted tanks and definitely panicked after seeing the damage it can do. Not to mention it's made a handful of people completely give up and tear apart their tanks to restart after months of it not going away. I work full time and maintain my house and other personal matters so I just don't have time to do daily water changes and algae removal sessions so I have to turn to alternative measures to assist me in keeping it from taking over my tank. I really wouldn't mind amanos as I still keep them in my other high tech if you remember they did a great job helping me deal with the initial algae breakout in that tank and still go a great job of keeping it clean. But unfortunately I've learned them to be a bit jumpy for the first few weeks adjusting to co2 injection and I dont have a lid on this tank like I do on the other one. I know for a fact they would just end up on my floor. They're much better jumpers than other dwarf shrimp and even more than some fish. I did order a glass lid for this tank since my female betta made a jump the other night, but because of my canister pipes I cant have it cover all gaps so there will be an open gap across the front and back panels of the tank. It can help lessen the chance of a jump outside the tank but can't prevent it altogether. I'm going to keep spot dosing with APT fix until the shrimp and ottos come and see if that helps slow it down. It gets worse every day. I can spend a few minutes pulling it off my carpet but it's pretty much spread to everything except my rotala. Even my Alternanthera has it and for me those plants have been doing exceptionally well. At some point if it gets worse it's going to start choking my plants out and then I won't have a choice but to spend more money to replant what I lose.
Yeah, I hear you with the Amanos, they can be jumpers at first. Although, as you said, they usually settle down after a while.

Like I said, my experience is that it usually goes away in a couple of months or less on it's own. I did have a tank where it took longer than that though. For me, I believe it was related to something in my tap water.

Pay close attention to any possible sources of ammonia, as diatoms really respond to it. If you've stirred up soil with root tabs, disturbed the filter bacteria somehow, etc., that can trigger the stuff. Also, if your plants are adjusting to the new conditions, they may be a little stressed or loose some leaves which could encourage the diatoms too.
 

TClare

I had this type of filamentous brown algae at first in only one of my tanks. It is the only tank that has some aquasoil so this may have something to do with it. Also I had the light on for too long at first, when I reduced the light to 6 hours a day that algae magically disappeared after just a few days. I also removed as much as possible by siphoning it off the substrate and pulling it off the plants, at one point there was loads of it, more each day. But it was very temporary. After it disappeared I got a little filamentous green algae growing in some of the plants, again I kept removing as much as possible with tweezers. Then as the plants grew and became established that too disappeared. I have not had any algae issues since. I do have some otos in there now but I didn’t add them until much later. My tank is low tech. I realise that in your case you only have the light on 5 hours, but with a high tech tank I think it’s much harder to balance the light, nutrients and CO2, so the algae issues may last a little longer. But they should disappear once the plants are doing well.
 

Fishstery

Yeah, I hear you with the Amanos, they can be jumpers at first. Although, as you said, they usually settle down after a while.

Like I said, my experience is that it usually goes away in a couple of months or less on it's own. I did have a tank where it took longer than that though. For me, I believe it was related to something in my tap water.

Pay close attention to any possible sources of ammonia, as diatoms really respond to it. If you've stirred up soil with root tabs, disturbed the filter bacteria somehow, etc., that can trigger the stuff. Also, if your plants are adjusting to the new conditions, they may be a little stressed or loose some leaves which could encourage the diatoms too.
It was present since like week 2 but it was barely noticeable and hard for me to determine if it was hair algae or what. But what definitely caused the bloom was a mass die off of BGA. Now that it bloomed its starting to spread to healthy leaves. The only other thought I could have was transitioning to RO and to lean dosing instead of EI may have shocked my plants a bit? Because I've had exceptionally fast growth since day 1 with EI dosing so its odd that it's starting to affect plants that were growing really well for me. I dimmed the lights down a bit again but I'm wondering if that may just cause more harm than good. I can't seem to find a yes or no if high light even makes diatoms worse.
 

Mudminnow

I dimmed the lights down a bit again but I'm wondering if that may just cause more harm than good. I can't seem to find a yes or no if high light even makes diatoms worse
I've seen diatoms grow in pretty dim light. Still, I think light effects their growth pretty significantly. Now this is the film type diatoms, but take a look at my picture of their growth in a newly set up tank. They grew in the light, but not so much in the shadow of the stick.
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Eventually though, the diatoms grew in the shadow as well...before they all went away.
 

Fishstery

I've seen diatoms grow in pretty dim light. Still, I think light effects their growth pretty significantly. Now this is the film type diatoms, but take a look at my picture of their growth in a newly set up tank. They grew in the light, but not so much in the shadow of the stick.
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Eventually though, the diatoms grew in the shadow as well...before they all went away.
I will keep the lights dimmed down and see if it slows the growth down at all. Maybe tuning down the dosing from EI to a more lean fert without dimming the lights in conjunction caused an imbalance. I did the first spot dosing of APT fix, according to their website you can spot dose 2ml every 24 hours. I hit the monte carlo where it was the worst last night, so every day before my shrimp and ottos arrive I'll spot dose another section and see if it does anything. There's some lingering micro spots or BGA so I'll be intrigued to see if it also melts that off too.
 

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