Is an Algae Eater Necessary?

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Twiz

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Greetings All,

Kind of new again to the hobby, although I maintained a 30L some years ago, until work commitments got in the way. I am retired now and I currently have a 28g bowfront, about 2 months cycled, with the following inhabitants: Six Tiger Barbs, One Gold Gourami, Two Dwarf Gourami's, and Two South American Bumblebee Catfish. I am curious whether others with more recent experience think I should add a Bristlenose Plec (or some other such small algae eater) to my tank for algae control purposes? I haven't had an algae problem to date, but tank is rather new. It is fish only, with gravel, plastic plants, and a couple of cave type structures made for aquariums. Thanks in advance for any insight anyone can provide...

Oh, also, I am currently running two Aquaclear 50 filters (on low, except after water changes)--no undergravel filter. Is this enough oxygen for my fish or do you think an air pump is in order? When I a had a tank in the past, it seemed all guides emphasized the use of air stones...now, not so much. Just curious what the current thoughts on this are from hobbyists?
 

JP

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One of the oldest myths in this hobby is the need for an algae eater. You simply don't have to have them. They are neat fish, but cannot survive on the algae in a tank alone. Their diets need to be supplemented with other foods. So basically it's the same as adding any other fish to your tank - they require special care, too.

Don't worry too much about the oxygen levels. Unless you see the fish gasping at the surface everything's okay in regards to that. Air stones are purely for your enjoyment. They don't provide much, if anything, to your fish and tank.
 

Isabella

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First, welcome to Fish Lore

If you don't have any algae problems, you don't have to get an algae eater. Once you start getting algae, you can get an algae eater so that you don't have to clean the algae yourself. But as JP said, do provide it with a good diet. A good algae eater for a tank of your size would be 1 Bristlenose Catfish, or 1 Siamese Flying Fox (Crossocheilus Siamensis is the true Siamese Flying Fox, so be careful not to confuse it with other similarly looking species). Or, you could get a few Otos.

As for water aeration, unless your filter(s) don't provide enough water movement and circulation, you don't have to have any airstones. However, even though my Aqua Clear 70 power filter provides excellent water movement and circulation in my 30 gallon tank, I still run an airstone there. I don't think water movement is a problem in smaller tanks. But when you have a large tank, I think it's necessary that you have some kind of additional areration there, especially if you have only one filter at one end of the tank. In large tanks, one filter only is not likely to circulate water well. In large tanks, a powerhead at the other end of the tank is useful. Or, instead, having two filters - one at each end of the tank.

P.S. In my 10 gallon tank, I have a Whisper Tetra 10 filter, and it does not provide good aeration and water movement in my opinion (it's not a very good filter at all in my opinion). So I run a good airstone there, at the other end of the tank - it helps aeration and water movement.
 
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Twiz

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Thanks for the input folks. Since I am running two filters, think I'll skip the air for now. As for the algae, guess I'll watch it a while and see how it goes (although it would have been a GREAT excuse to go fish shopping ;D)!
 

Gunnie

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Twiz said:
Thanks for the input folks.  Since I am running two filters, think I'll skip the air for now.  As for the algae, guess I'll watch it a while and see how it goes (although it would have been a GREAT excuse to go fish shopping  ;D)!
If you just want one, go for it, but you will have to feed it everyday like you do your other fish since you don't have any algae for him to eat. Just make sure you know which one you are getting. Many of them can get quite large, and would probably be too big for your tank. I have a common pleco in my 100 gal. tank which is over a foot long. Mine was one of those "cute" algae eaters you see in WalMart and other places that sell fish.
 
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Twiz

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Would definitely go the bristlenose route, as my research says avg size of 5". Of course, finding the shop that properly labels their fish or where the employees know their fish is the trick...in any event, not in a rush and will probably monitor the tank a bit more.
 
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