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shrimps, flagfish and barbs etc

The recent talk on Florida flagfish for hair algae herbivory has not
convinced me that they are good at it. I had them sometime ago. I was not
too awfully impressed personally but others had mentioned successes. Most
were unimpressed and a few said they did nothing for their algae problem. I
fell into this group myself. Much of what Roger said mirrored a time or two
that I had. Neil Frank had them so I tried them for some time way back when.
But Rosey barbs kick their butt in this area. But roseies were going after
my Riccia etc. Or anything else fluffy or fuzzy. Still a pretty fish and
quite active if not intense. But they are often a temporary animal in some
tanks due to this. Flagfish can/could be used in a similar
fashion(temporary). Rosey barbs are a better community animal IMO hands
down. Hard to catch though in a fully planted tank! But you can get the long
finned types that are slower and easier to catch. But flag fish can have
their place also.
But having a massive school of flagfish? That will cause problems. The Rosey
barbs are schooling fish naturally. Put 12 in a 100 gallon tank and they
will clean it out fast. No sexual aggression happening etc. Say good by to
your Riccia stones and moss though. They are much nicer to see than the
flagfish IMO. Nice cherry silver red color. Some varieties are very intense
and have slightly different markings.

If you want an active tank and have no moss/Riccia etc have a semi
aggressive tank where a shrimp may be eaten these guys area good solution
for hair algae.

Shrimps will not bother any plant or any fish though. They will sit out and
hang on many species of algae picking away. I recently add a big glob of
hairy scum to a tank. The shrimps where all over it like dung beetles on
well..you know. It was gone by the next morning. They are cheap if you look
around or try to get more than 6 on a deal or group buy. They are not tough
regarding water quality like flagfish and then the rosey barbs but if you
have a good handle on your CO2 and have some water circulation in your tank,
do water changes this is not a problem. SAE's will chew on some species of
hair algae. SAE's while good and great for specific types of algae do attack
one plant that I know of, Rotala wallichii. I've watched do it many time by
many different SAE's. Not just "my two fish" or once or twice or three times
Shrimps and snails seem to be the clear winners for herbivory.  They don't
attack plants at all and don't bug other fish. Now the fish might bug them
But Flag fish are over rated and not the most effective hair algae remover
in tanks I have messed with. They get 3 out of 10.

But you can use the nutrition, CO2 and picking at the algae methods also.
This is the long term solution to any algae. The herbivory crew is just
icing on the cake to make sure new algae don't appear. No animal is going to
cure bad conditions.
Another note on hair algae. There are many species of hair algae. Some much
worse than others.
Tom Barr