[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Plant eating SAE's?

>I agree with George Booth here. Your SAEs must be starving because mine
>don't eat fine-leaved plants. Plecos, Angels, Platties, barbs, Kribs and
>Clown Loaches will. Are you sure you are not blaming the wrong fish? SAEs
>look like they are eating plants when they clean leaves and maybe they eat
>leaves that are in bad shape but I've never seen them eat a healthy leaf...
>and I watch mine a lot.

My experience is that same as yours.  I don't find them terribly aggressive
feeders either, as long as they're not starving.  I've got fish in every
tank that are faster getting to the food than the SAE's. (not to say
they're slouches at getting their share<g>)

>Let's hear from anyone who has had plant-eating SAEs. Perhaps they do eat
>plants if they get hungry enough. It would be interesting to know.

I've never had them do any damage to healthy growth, although I _have_ seen
them picking on dying tissue.

Let's look at this whole situation the way you would with a reef tank.  In
a reef tank, you _want_ algae growth, because algae is good at sequestering
nutrients that your skimmer misses.  Then you want ANIMALS who will graze
that algae to the point that it is unnoticeable to further sequester those
nutrients. (in the form of growth)   Anything to keep it out of the water.

In the planted tank, we don't use protein skimmers.  Our first line of
defense is, or should be, our plants.  But there's nothing wrong with using
algae as PART of the nutrient sequestering process, and then allowing it to
feed some of the animals we wish to keep.  I happen to _like_ SAE's.  I
also have tanks that have no SAE's in them and no problem algae.  I would
keep SAE's whether I had algae or not.  I do need to adjust my feeding to
meet their needs since none of my tanks produce enough algae to support them.

This next is not a "dig" at people's aquatic gardening skills or practices,
it's an observation.  I'd love to hear people's further thoughts on it.One
thing I've noticed is that a lot of the people who are advocating the use
of bleaching to totally avoid the introduction of filamentous algae, also
seem to have a fair amount of experience with green water. (they also
mostly use soil substrates, it seems to me) They seem fairly nonchalant
about it, and seem willing and able to cope with the occasional bloom.  BUT
is one of the REASONS they see more green water at least partially because
they limit the number of other types of algae that are present within the

_Something_ is likely to make use of any excess nutrients available in the
system.  Some people prefer using larger animals (fish) to deal with
filamentous algae if and when it shows up.  Others prefer to avoid
filamentous algae at all costs, and if greenwater shows up, either remove
it mechanically or use a mini-algae eater (daphnia) to clear it up.  

Either approach clearly works, as we can hold up examples of beautiful
tanks in both categories.  As with all the other contentious areas of
aquatic gardening, it seems to me a matter of deciding what's important to
you, and finding a way to strike a balance within those parameters.  Comments?

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association