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re: Amano vs Ghost shrimp
Here's is something that is largely anecdotal.
I have a couple tanks long plagued by a dark green, tough, matt-forming
algae. This stuff has invaded and destroyed three different carpets in
three different tanks. It appeared in a lileaopsis carpet and I did
nothing but mechanical removal. The lileaopsis survived, but no longer as
a carpet. It appeared in a glosso carpet and amano shrimp and American
flag fish didn't touch it. The glosso was wiped out (partly by the Flag
fish). When it appeared in a marsilea carpet I added ruby barbs and they
cleaned it out. SAEs didn't touch the stuff. The barbs also trim the
marsilea and E. tenellus.
More recently I decided to use the full-fertilizer blitz (add all macros
in excess and make sure that iron and other traces are supplied) to see
what the algae would do. In the tank with the lileaposis the algae went
into retreat, but never quite disappeared. It stayed on in clumps here
and there. But it retreated enough that I decided to try and re-stablish
the lileaopsis carpet.
In the tank that once held the glosso there was no effect from the
fertilizer blitz, so I added 6 amano shimp (at ~$4 each) to the 10-gallon
tank. Two disappeared immediately and one disappeared somewhat later.
There are three remaining. I see them grazing through the algae, but the
algae is still there. I still have to mechanically remove the algae to
keep it from carpeting the tank. Maybe those are real Caridina japanica.
A couple weeks ago I noticed that the algae was starting to get into my
re-established lileaposis lawn and from experience I knew that something
had to be done. Friday after work I stopped into the LFS (Clark's on
Lomas) and picked up a dozen mixed-sized ghost shrimp. They were marked
at 3/$0.99, but they actually sold them to me for half that. I added them
to the tank with the lileaopsis and as of this morning (Tuesday) the only
visible algae in that tank was a little green tint just along the front of
the tank at the gravel line. The shimp got down between the blades of
lileaopsis and cleaned out the algae down to the gravel.
I've kept ghost shrimp for years and I regard them as effective,
omnivorous scavengers. They aren't herbivorous, but they do eat some
algae. They'll also eat small fish if they can catch them. I was a
little surprised by the huge effect they had in this tank. I attribute
their effectiveness to a fairly large population (12 shrimp in a 20-gallon
tank), the young age of many of the shrimp and the fact that they just
came from the pet shop. They probably hadn't had much to eat for a long
Will they be able to hold that algae at bay? We'll see. My advice to
anyone who wants to try using them is to use a lot of them.