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More on SAEs
I have had several people ask me why their SAE(s) are not
controlling the algea in their tanks. Rather than continue to respond
on an individual basis, I thought I would post a few of my
observations in the hope that we can all benefit.
SAEs are schooling fish. My recommendation is a minium of four, six
is better. Adult size is approx. 5.5 to 6.5 inches, so plan
accordingly. Groups less than four are skittish, shy, and inactive.
Yes, I'm sure that there are exceptions. Mixed groups of True & False
SAEs are fine. SAEs seem to accept False SAEs as part of the group,
thus achiving the minium number needed.
SAEs will eat anything. They are a very effective scavenger. If you
are a heavy feeder of your other fish, or the fish are sloopy eaters,
the SAEs will gourge themselves on fish food, and eat far less algea.
SAEs seem to show a preference for fresh algea growth, the newest
tips, sprouts, etc. If you have a fair amount of algea, you can watch
the SAEs graze on the rocks, leaves of plants, glass, filter sponges,
etc, and semmly not decrease the existing algea. But if you continue
to observe for a period of days/weeks, you will notice that the algea
doesn't seem to be growing/spreading, and in some cases dying back. I
attribute this to the fact that the old part is dying off naturally,
and the new, or replacement, growth is being eaten by the SAEs.
I have noticed that the green/brown algea that grows on the glass
of your aquarium ( the type that requires a scraper to get off ) is
the least desirable type for SAEs. They will eat it, but it seems to
be the last choice. That is the reason I use Panaque N. and Farws in
conjunction with SAEs. Their sucker type mouths are better adapted to
this type of algea.
For that long, green filament algea that many people have problems
with, the best (IMHO) fish at controlling it are baby Chinesse Algea
Eaters. BUT, as many of us have found out, the undesirable habits of
this fish far outway its benefits. As pre-adults/adults the CAE's
appetite changes to other food types and it will only eat quanities of
algea if there is no other choice. It becomes aggressive, and will
prevent timid fish from obtaining food. It is a VERY poor choice for
the community tank, and is only an effective algea eater when young.
For those that are interested in breeding SAEs, you will have to
have a moderatly planted tank, high water flow, and, to use the term
coined by someone on this list, be an 'Algea Farmer'. Abundent algea
growth seems to be a requirement for conditioning the breeders. Green
water and infersoria (sp?) are an absolute for the survival of the
young. A Daphania breeding tank is perfect for the young to survive
and grow in.
I hope these observations are of help.