Clean up crew for a busy/delicate 40 breeder

BeanieSeagus

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I'm putting together a 40 gallon planted community tank. Though filled with docile fish this tank will be heavily stocked, and has a few species that are likely to breed (GBR and corydoras). If possible i'd like to encourage that breeding.

With these elements in mind, which fish should i consider for my clean up crew, especially for algae?

1) Bushy nose Plecos are appealing as I could potentially coax them into breeding as well, but they are notorious egg eaters.

2) hillstream loaches look super cool and i've always wanted to keep them, but i'm not sure how they do with eggs.

3) otocinclus catfish - never kept them, hear good things, like their small size

4) No fish at all? should i just go with snails? Not sure shrimp would make it in this tank.

5) Other? Whats your clean up fish of choice for a tank like this?

Thanks!
 

FishGirl38

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BN plecos will eat some algae when they're little, but once they're adults they probably won't keep the tank AS clean. And they can be a bit destructive, I've got 3 males in a 40B right now.

I personally would go with otocinclus and nitrite snails. I put 8 otocinclus into my 135G and they cleaned it up real nice, these guys will only eat algae. Black racer nerites are great algae cleaners and they move quick. but any kind of nerite will nibble on algae continuously. The cool thing about nerites too is that they won't breed in freshwater (they need brackish/saltwater). SO, you'll see little white eggs all over, but they won't overpopulate your tank. They're usually big enough to not get into the filter too, they're typically about nickel size.

There are two shrimp that would probably do okay with what you're looking to stock. the first being amano shrimp. These guys get about an inch and a half and will eat hair algae. Another type is wood/rock/bamboo/vampire/flower (they're called all sorts of names) shrimp. these guys aren't really 'clean up crew' material. But they get about 2.5-3 in and will sit at the bottom of your air stones (whereever there is flow) with their fans out, catching any particles that they can. You can watch them eat the dirt out of your tank but, they don't 'eat algae' per se.
 

kanzekatores

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Hillstream loaches like cooler waters. BN plecos would do a great job I think. I've heard otocinclus are very sensitive and need a manture tank, though I've never kept them so those might work as well!
 

FishGirl38

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watermelon46 said:
Hillstream loaches like cooler waters. BN plecos would do a great job I think. I've heard otocinclus are very sensitive and need a manture tank, though I've never kept them so those might work as well!
This is partially true, but it more depends on where you get your otocinclus from. There ARE captive bred ones, but I know a lot of the time when we get ours in, they're not captive bred. When you're dealing with wild caught species, they're substantially more finicky. At the store, (if you buy them online from a smaller breeder, they're likely captive bred) take a GOOD look at how the otos are swimming. You can kind-of tell how they'll fair in your tank by how they're behaving in the store tank. (because a-lot of times, if they're wild caught, they won't acclimate very well in the store either). You're looking for red/purple gills/tummies, clamped fins, serpentine like swimming (or wiggling), cloudy fins, etc.

If you're not seeing any of that, and they look like happy, healthy fish in the store tank, than you should be okay - but yes, otocinclus do have a reputation for being somewhat delicate. So long as your PH is in the moderate range, they should be okay. The PH in my 135 has rose to 7.8, when I added them it was closer to 7.4, I did lose a few, but the majority of them are still hangin out. They try to swim through the current of my FX4, which is kind of funny to watch...
 

JettsPapa

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It's difficult to answer without knowing what you expect of this "clean-up crew". If it's just to eat uneaten food that falls to the bottom of the tank, the corys you have now will do that. If you want something to control algae then your choices will be limited by the GBR's since they need warmer temperatures than most commonly kept fish.

Technically if you don't overfeed, and control algae by balancing live plants, fertilizer, and light, then you don't need a clean-up crew at all.
 

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