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RE: Algae Eaters

>Kevin Madsen wrote:

>I am trying to decided what to replace the Pleco's (Regular and Bristle
>Nose) in my 135G tank because of the damage they are doing to my Swords.
>suggestions as to type and also quantity required?

No doubt it my mind:  Buy Amano Shrimp and Siamese Algae Eaters.

I have had really good experiences with the guys at AquariumFish.net,
www.aquariumfish.net  - 858/ 270-1182.  They are easy to deal with
and have taken care of what few problems I have had without hesitation.
A very pleasant experience.  Pretty much just like what I have seen in
my dealings with Hawaiian Marine (Eheim and Dupla products).
FWIW, I would highly recommend them both.

Over the past couple of months I have seen a lot of posts concerning the
cost and availability of the Amano or Japanese Marsh Shrimp (Caridina
japonica) and the Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis).  More
recently there was a discussion about setting up a 'balanced' tank without
using these types of algae eaters.  Now Kevin's question about replacement
algae eaters.

Off and on for the past 25 years I have had aquariums of various sizes.
I started up a couple of small tanks for fish only (thought plants were nice
decorations) about January this year.  When I was at a bookstore looking to
replace my discarded fish books I came across one of Amano's books and have
become engrossed with this.  Maybe hooked is a better word.  I have a strong
technical background but was unfamiliar with the finer points of planted
tanks and their upkeep that one only gains from experience.  Many thanks
to all of you who post here regularly.  It has eased the time, expense and
pain of the learning curve.  I am pretty sure I still don't know what I am
doing (at least well enough to feel anywhere near competent yet) but I
actually have things growing and my tanks are starting to look reasonably
good.  This is pretty good for a guy who couldn't grow weeds if he tried

One thing I recall from the start was everyone here mentioning the Amano
shrimp and SAEs.  Like most I had some algae problems that were the result
of high light, insufficient CO2 and using plant fertilizers.  Obviously
was balanced and I could not find any of those constantly recommended
algae eaters locally to keep the algae in check until I got it sorted out.
of the LFSs wanted to do more than look at me and nod approvingly when
I asked about them getting some.  They were content selling Plecos, Ottos
and CAEs.  Having seen the condition of some fish in a few of the bad
LFSs I was really afraid of ordering on-line.  Finally I had enough of the
It was a beard algae and some standard green stuff.  The beard stuff was
killing my plants and I couldn't get it off the rocks.  I would grab a
strand of
it and it would start to pull up a rock the size of my fist (I'm 6'2").
Amazing stuff.
Someone should figure out how that attaches to rock - it would make an
incredible super glue.  I would change the water, added CO2, less or more
fertilizer and light - nothing seemed to stop it.  I didn't have GW but my
was so bad that when I finally got to getting the CO2 setup and the KH
worked out my rocks would pearl more than the plants.

I finally broke down and bought some SAE's from a source in California
called AquariumFish.net.  They were the only people I could find at that
time who had them in stock and I could reach on the phone.  It happened
that they also had some shrimp.  The guy I spoke with was very upfront.
He said he wasn't sure they were japonicas as they were new to him.
But they were algae eaters, had no claws and the coloring he described
sounded right.  I was truly desperate.

Along with the CO2, heavily planted tank with fast growing plants, and good
fertilization, this was one of the smartest things I have done.  The day
they arrived I cleaned the algae out as best I could, pulling plants and
heavily infected sections of plants, changed the water and put in a bunch
plants.  The next day I put in the SAEs and the shrimp.  This is pretty much
what Tom Barr has recommended all along.  BTW - Thanks Tom.  About the
same time I bought a magnet to clean the glass because it looked a lot
and so many on this list were expressing their good experiences with them.
I think I have used the magnet twice more since then.  That was about 4-5
ago and I haven't needed to since.  Yes there still is a little algae in the
tank, but
very little.  It is mostly in the crevasses of  a few rocks.  It actually
kind of makes
the tank look more natural.

I have since ordered a few more of these algae eaters (three separate orders
in all) as I am setting up a bigger tank and a much bigger tank.  Once this
company shipped the false SAE.  They corrected the problem and shipped true
SAEs as soon as they could.  They have been wonderful to deal with and their
prices are relatively cheap compared to what I read here that everyone pays
at their LFS.  Of course there is the freight to consider.  I ordered
shrimp and SAEs so the cost per fish wasn't too bad and I have saved a
fortune in the plants I was continuously replacing.  Kind of wishing I had
bought that magnet though. ; )

AquariumFish.net charges $2.50 for an ~ 1.5" SAE and $2.00 for the
Amano or Japanese Marsh Shrimp.  I have only had trouble with receiving
SAEs.  Some died in transit but they threw in a few extras with the order
to account for this.  Once more than the extras died and they replaced them
at no charge.  The ones that survived shipping have thrived and are doing
very well.  I highly recommend these guys to anyone looking for fish.
BTW - My only affiliation with them is as a customer - a very happy one.
I have received nothing for this from them.  They did not ask nor were they
aware I was going to post this until I asked them for their current prices.

Please forgive the long post but perhaps some people will listen to a
to the hobby.  Roger, Tom, George and all the others are really right about
maintenance of a planted tank - forgive me if I did not include everyone's
name as the list is long and you know who you are anyway.  It may not be
|the only way, but it works.  I have come to realize that if you get it
correctly, it is then much easier to play around and try other things.  Kind
what I think these guys have been saying all along.

Also, please forgive me if I didn't exactly say what you all have been
As I said, I am new and inexperienced.  If someone is currently having
and really wants to do this right, IMO they should look at the current APDs
the archives.  It is pretty easy to figure out who knows what they are
Listen to them, do exactly what they recommend until you get it working.
try this or that, think you will cut a corner here or there - just do what
they say.  Then experiment or fine tune it.  It is sooo much easier.

Wish I had done that from the start.

Thanks again to all of you,
Charles Kuehnl