Plants and algae eaters!

  • #1
Hello! I've just joined the forum in the hopes of becoming a better fish keeper, and am hoping someone can help me.

I have a 10-gallon freshwater tank with 1 dwarf blue gourami, 1 high fin black skirt tetra, and 1 neon tetra. I know that the neon tetras community fish, and I started out with 2, then added 2 more as my tank matured, but the 2 new ones plus 1 older one got sick and died despite treatment. My tank has been running for about a year and a half now and it is cycled. Ammonia is 0ppm, Nitrate is about 10ppm, and Nitrite is 0ppm. I feed my fish once a day with TetraColor Tropical Flakes. I use a gravel vacuum to do water changes every other week and treat the water with Tetra AquaSafe each time. My tank is filtered by a Power Filter 20B (for 5-20 gallon tanks) from Petco, and I change the filter cartridge every couple of months.

Lately my tank has been turning green (with what I presume is algae) rather quickly. I've tried taking out the decorations and scrubbing them under hot water, but it doesn't come off easily and seems to have leached some of the color from them. Since I still have room in my tank, I thought an algae eater would be a good idea, so I looked online for more information on them. It seems like most, if not all, algae eaters require live plants. Do I need live plants to get an algae eater(I've shied away from live plants so far because I don't know what sort of lighting I have, and it seems very complex, so I have been afraid that I might mess it up)? Is getting an algae eater even a good idea(/if so, what kind)? And if I get one, would it still be possible to add a few more neon tetras to make the lone one more comfortable?

Thank you so much!

P.S. Should I be aerating my tank?
  • #2
Looking at your stocking, I'd say you don't really have room for any kind of algae eater. The skirt tetra is also a schooling fish, and there's absolutely no way you should try to keep two different schools of tetras in a 10G. I'd even say that one school of the skirts is too much. Algae means you're getting nitrogren probelms; basically your fish and the food you're giving them are producing more waste nitrogen than you're removing with your water changes. I'd say up your tank to a 20L, up your school sizes to 6 each, and instead of a fish that eats algae, get some live plants to help out with your nitrogen. If you still have an algae problem, look into snails. They're much more appropriate for small tanks, and they're actually a lot of fun.
Even if you don't up your schools, don't add an algae eating fish of any sort; the tank is already nitrogen rich. Adding an algae eater to your existing tank will only exacerbate the underlying issue.
If a larger tank is not an option, then you're looking at some serious restructuring to provide your fish with a steady, stable, healthy environment.
I'm not going to go into why it's important for the health of the fish to be kept in appropriate school sizes at the moment; you seem to have bigger problems on your hands.
  • #3
Just my two cents. Snails are good cleaners.

Also, is your tank in a lot of direct sunlight, as that can cause algae growth.
  • #4
shrimp have a small bioload and can be pretty good with algae

My suggestion (and I'm far far from expert, check with the others!) would be to return your one of your tetras, fill out the school of the other and invest in a load of shrimp....
Fall River
  • #5
Good advice from those above. I'd return the skirt and get another 7-8 neons.
  • #6
Welcome to fish lore!

I would agree, the skirt tetras are not great for a 10gal, I would look into some other fish for it, neons are a great choice, you can also look into things like galaxy rasboras or possibly an all male guppy tank.

As for the algae I would let a bit more build up and then look into either a nerite snail or an amano shrimp.
  • #7
Welcome to Fishlore!

The green water you are noticing is a free floating form of algae. Algae eaters will not help. Instead you need to look at your lighting. What type of lighting do you have? How many hours a day is it on? Does your tank sit near a window where it can get direct sunlight?

If you follow the link about why there is algae in a tank, the beginning of the article discusses this very form of algae. While it focuses on a planted tank, the principles for removing it are the same...just ignore statements about balancing ferts and other plant specific info.
  • #8
It likely won't solve your particular algae issue, but I would use Malaysian Trumpet snails in an aquarium with plants that has algae on surfaces if the need arises. They should burrow into the substrate during the day (which should help aerate gas pockets) and come out at night to do their janitorial duties. They can overpopulate a tank if you overfeed, so they have the potential to become a pest species. They should keep their numbers under control naturally if you keep the food supply low. Some people have success finding an equilibrium between MTS and Assassin snails in the same environment.

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