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Algae eating critters
Just my personal experiences on this subject. I have had FFF for a few
years. I keep mostly species tanks so mine are alone in a 10 gallon
tank. I have also kept them in a kiddie pool outside. They do seem to do
well with their own fry though, and I usually have fish of various ages
in the tank.
I prefer using ghost shrimp in most tanks to prevent hair algae. You can
just look at the tanks in my fish room and tell which have shrimp and
which don't by if they have hair algae or not. In my experience they are
great hair algae presenters.
The ghost shrimp do have some down sides. Many medium sized and probably
about all larger fish will eat them. The shrimp will also eat the eggs
of fish that don't guard them. They will eat a fish if they can catch
it. That's usually not a problem, but I have had one kill a female adult
guppy when I had some guppies and ghost shrimp in a small container
while transferring them from the fish room into a tank in the living
room. And I have occasionally seen one get a small livebearer fry, but
usually they can't catch them. They will catch and eat a mosquito larva,
glass worms, or tubifex if any one ever wants to see them hunting in
action. And finally it seems hard to get healthy ones to start out with,
though they seem hardy once you have an established population.
I've been using them for hair algae for a several years in many tanks
and they have worked really well for me. I don't think they are very
good at cleaning up a really bad infestation of it, and they can't
always get to it if it's growing at the surface of the tank in a mat of
floating plants. But I would still recommend them, for many tank
As for mollies, platies, swords, and Ameca splendens, I haven't tried
them alone in tanks for a while, mine all have shrimp in with them. I
tried some shrimp that were labeled as Amano shrimp that I bought at an
lfs, so far I haven't been impressed, but they may be the wrong variety,
and they were very tiny when I bought them and I think there are only 3
that grew to adulthood in a 10 gallon tank.
I was surprised to find another fish that does eat hair alga well, at
least for me, Ilyodon furcidens. I know they do it because I have put
them in a couple different tanks that did have infestations to test them
after I first noticed they were getting rid of some, and these guys eat
ghost shrimp so I know there were none of them doing the work. The
furcidens are a goodeid, medium sized and can be aggressive to some
small fish, they ate some small desert gobies that were the results of
spawns in their tank. They're doing ok with mollies and Botias.
The comments on the rosy barbs were interesting. I'll be looking for
some now to try out.