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platys eat algae

I have never heard of platys mentioned as algae eaters but mine relish it. 
I pulled a thick clump of it (hair algae, I think) up at the river and
dropped it in my tank for my pleco but the platys and the guppies beat him
to it.  It didn't last long and they always nibble the algae discs I drop
in to keep the pleco happy.
  My pleco has grown and grown,(up to 8 or 9 inches now) I was loosing
small fish a few months back and I think he was having midnight snacks.  I
doubled the amount I was feeding him and my fish disappearences have
stopped. Nothing else in the tank was big enough to have eaten them.