Black Molly in place of SAE's..
If your lusting after SAE's, but agree that finding them can be a hassle, I
would like to recommend black lyre tailed mollies (Poecilia sphenops); I
had a hard time finding SAE's short of mail order, and had heard classic
sources recommend the black lyre tailed molly; such as The Optimum
Aquarium. No one around here that I knew had ever tried them for algae
control, and I had never heard them mentioned anywhere here on the Net. A
couple of sources even told me that this was false--that they had never
seen mollies eating algae (but most stores stock the smaller, over breed
marbled mollies that I am told have a terrible mortality rate...?)
A local store got in a shipment of classic black lyre tailed mollies (also
called Veil-tailed, particularly in Europe I understand)--big guys, around
3"-4", with a faint tinge of orange on their fins.
I have been very happy with there appetite for algae--particularly hair and
thread algae (the only type I truly battle). They cruise and munch, often
tugging and ripping out big filaments.
The only problem I can see is that they find tethered Riccia and Java Moss
very alluring, but not to the point of actually doing severe damage.
They love to be fed, but since I only feed the other fish every other day,
this doesn't really affect their appetite for algae. To maximize their
potential, I wait until they can't be seen and then feed the other fish--by
the time the mollies figure it out, the food is almost all gone.
If you're algae is driving you mad, and you can't run down and buy some
SAE's, or hassle with mail order, I highly recommend the more common lyre
tmarch at primenet_com
Los Angeles, CA