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I would agree with Norm that they can be a threat to plants if there are
not enough predators around. I have a hunch that Rhonda takes such great
care of her plants that she doesn't notice the pruning done by the gammarus.
A friend had a thriving culture going in a 55 gallon community tank. They
seemed to be at some sort of equilibrium because many of the gammarus lived
under the u.g. filter plate and fed on the detritus. The fish in the tank
may in turn seem to have been harvesting the gammarus at a certain size.
I had a tank planted with the "wonder bulbs" - probably either
Aponogeton crispus or a hybrid - available once in a while in shops. They
and their seedlings luxuriantly populated a ten gallon tank which was
settled by a pair of Epiplatys lamottei and their off-spring. The lamottei
pair was sent of to a show and the fry removed to grow out. The now fishless
tank began to feature some pretty "holey" plant leaves in a week or so.
Gammarus, which probably came in with the bulbs and were surviving in small
numbers in the gravel, were all over the place. The return of the Epiplatys,
who were not fed anything else for a couple of days. eliminated the
gammarus. Now when I want gammarus or scuds....
Sometimes a plant eating pest (pest to the plants, useful in other ways)
doesn't manifest itself right away. We picked up some mystery snails on sale
at a shop and were pleased when a few months later they began laying lots of
eggs in their planted tank. When the snail population got to a certain
density/ bulk the plant population dropped precipitously.
The "mystery snails", having revealed themselves to be one of the Apple
Snails, were banished to a well lit tank of their own when they performed
yeoman service generating greenwater for daphnia while eating kitchen
veggies scraps (beans, peas, carrot peels) and the odd aquarium plant
fragment. They also entertained themselves by climbing out of the tank and
sliming their ways all over the house! Most recovered when placed back in
their tank - which was also recovered.
All the best!
>> also keep in mind you may not want to feed these in planted set ups
>> as they will quickly eat ever plant in sight.
>I didn't find this to be true at all. I have gammarus all over the
>place. You can culture them in about anything that will hold water. I
>have fed the ones I cultured plant trimmings from my tanks. I have them
>in many tanks and have never had any problem with them attacking or
>eating any live healthy plants except one. The only plant that I've seen
>them eat is Java Moss, which they will munch down to little strings. If
>you don't have Java moss in your tanks though they also will eat hair
>algae. If you have egg layers that don't provide parental care in the
>tanks I wouldn't use them as they may eat the eggs. I don't bother
>culturing them anymore as they seem to do quite well in tanks they are
>in anyway and the fish don't seem to be all that interested in eating
>them, but I raise mostly smaller fish.