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Re: Miller's FFF musings


>let's all remember that Dwight *sells* American-Flag fish, so his >reply
may be a matter of protecting a vested interest and not a >matter of trying
to get the truth told.

An easy, shot cheap shot.  As if we all don't know that I sell FFF. This
underscores your true motives behind your diatribe. Focus on the veracity
of my arguments long before you question my integrity or motives.

To set the record straight, I've been a vocal proponent of FFF long before
I began selling them.  I sell them only because a year ago LFS that carry
them were few and far between and I received so many requests to ship this
fish that I got tired of telling people to pester their LFS to bring them
in. The records are stored here in the lists' back issues for all to see.
I sell them b/c remote communities still don't have them even today.

The record will show my enthusiasm for this little fish is far deeper than
any insignificant "profit" that there might be.  No one can honestly
question that I believe these fish are the best thing for hair algae
problems EVER!  I have been completely up front and thorough about their
behavior.  The list back issues will show I've discussed SPECIFIC plants
that I think are vulnerable to the FFF as well as strategies for working
around this.

Therefore, if I have in anyway misrepresented this glorious little fish say
so up front and prove it!  Instead of taking cheap shots trying to impugn
my motive w/o hard evidence.


>  Their breeding and brooding >behavior is
>interesting and the male's colors are truly beautiful when he's >breeding.
>Non-breeding females and juveniles are pretty doudy fish.

Who gives a hoot what the FFF Females look like?  They chow down Hairalgae!
 That's all most of us care about.


>The flag fish were not breeding at the time they tore into my
>guppies.  So it appears that flag fish can be aggressive even when >not

You STILL don't get it do you?  You had a mature male and female
together... FFF behavior changes prior to the actual laying of eggs.
Another thing you seem to overlook.  Your guppy would have been fine w/ FFF
females.  As long as no males are present.

> Miller says:
> >  I do have problems with >a tough short-haired algae that hugs the
> >substrate and thrives in dim
> >light.  They don't do much at all about that stuff.

>It is a green algae, probably what Diana Walstad describes as "mat" >algae.
>It likes to grow on the substrate and it gets tangled up in carpet >plants.
>It isn't BBA or any other sort of red algae.  If you haven't run into,
>then count yourself lucky.

Oh, but I have run into what I think is this uncommon hair algae strain and
the FFF do eat it. Not as much as the common varieties though. 


>Some time ago (last year think) I gave a detailed description and
>comparison of two recently setup tanks, one with flag fish and one with
>female swordtails. The flag fish damaged the plants in their tank >enough
>that the plants couldn't get established before algae got a foothold in
>the tank.  Their plant-damaging behavior actually caused the algae >problem
>in that tank.

THis is an example of the classic pseudo-experiment.  You place absolutely
no caveats or qualifications on your setup.  Everything about this
so-called comparison of yours screams overstatement.  Overlooking the fact
that MANY people have setup new aquaria w/o such extreme results, you
deliberately omit the plants you supposedly used or any particular details
of the aquarium that would allow us to judge the substance of your claims.
What plants did you use in your initial setup?  Rotala wallichii?  How many

Omitting the fact that there are several strategies to work around the
nibbling the FFF will sometimes do to some sensitive species such as using
more hardy fast-growing plants in an initial setup, adding bright light,
Co2 etc.  Then replacing them a couple weeks later as the plants become
established with your more sensitive species.  For the past year, I've been
following this regime and I added just 3 FFF to initial 55gal setups.  I do
NOT feed the fish. Hair algae never appears.  Even the most sensitive
species like Rotala wallichii outgrow their occasional nibbling whenever
they are included in the aquarium; during the initial setup or after its

In addition, your conclusion that the FFF CAUSED your algae problem is way
over the top!    


>I'm not reporting ruby barbs as consistent and effective algae >control.
I'm reporting that ruby barbs did a better job than flag >fish.  Female
swordtails also did a better job than flag fish.  What >should I test them
against next?  Mollies?

So... let's see if I understand this "experiment"; You setup one aquarium
w/ FFF and plants (number of each undefined), one aquarium w/  female
swordtails and plants (number of each undefined), ANOTHER aquarium with
rubybarbs and plants (number of each undefined)?  B/c you would have to
have used at least four separate aquariums to maintain these fish
exclusivlely w/o other tank inhaditants to draw anything near a valid
conclusions.  I'll bet the thumb on my right hand you did no such thing or
you would have illustrated these details for us long ago... 

Where's your control???  

What was the size of each aquarium? 

What species of plants were used in each aquarium?  How many of each sp. in
each aquarium?

Did you measure nutrient concentrations in them all? How othen?

How did you ensure algae concentrations/amounts were the similar in each

How many of each species of fish did you place in each aquarium?  My guess
is you had FFF in one aquarium and everybody else in ONE other separate

Did you use a single sex of FFF in the aquarium?  Males and females
dividing their time in courtship are less efficient hair algae consumers.

Were the fish fed? With what? How often?

Was the substrate fertilized?

What lighting was used on each aquarium?  Were the bulbs bought new or were
they of varied ages and intensities.

Perhaps you don't think these questions are important, but they are
critical if we are to draw any valid conclusions from you supposed "study".
 Each of the factors I addressed have would have a direct bearing on
possible algae production in each tank. You placed absolutely no
qualifications of this setup you constructed neither did you gave us
details.  My verdict is your experiment was doomed from the start w/o a
control and any serious check on your personal bias.  


>Is there anyone out there who *doesn't* sell flag fish that want's to
>stand up and tell us what a great community resident flag fish are, >or to
>tell us that they really are great at controlling algae?

Search the archives of the list.  They have already weighed in about the
efficiency w/ which these fish devour hair algae. They are the
best...period!  Regardless of what a couple people with limited experience
with FFF may be saying now. As for behavior, I will add this statement
about behavior from out this article by  Wright Huntley.  He's into
killiefish, I've never met him and he's not my friend.  He does not sell
FFF to the best of my knowlege: 

"The most striking behavior is during mating, described in detail below.
The spawning behavior is radically different in different conditions, which
has led to a lot of confusion in the literature. 1,3-8,10 Hopefully, this
report will start to clarify this point, and future efforts can proceed
with better direction. Most of the cited references contain some material
factual errors, and only the JAKA/Killie Notes references should be
trusted. 2,9 In particular, the males are larger than the females, they are
very brightly colored, they don't "dash around" the tank, and they don't
molest other fish, despite the claims of some famous encyclopedists"
See rest of article at:

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