RE: SAE's over-rated!?

I had problems with various algaes a long tome ago, and hair algae was my
particular nemesis. I've always kept a motley squad of algae eaters in the
tank, but it was mostly time and experience that brought everything under
control. I finally got some SAEs, but after I got rid of the hair algae. So
to be honest I don't know if they're preventing any troublesome algae
outbreaks or not. They will eat just about anything, and they're quick. I
feed enough that all the inhabitants of the tank manage to get what they
need. More timid fish may not be able to get their fair share, and if the
SAEs were well fed on regular aquarium food right from the start, they may
not have developed a taste for algae. My SAEs spend most of their time
munching on just about every surface they can get at. I assume they're
munching algae. And as I already pointed out, my SAEs supplement their diet
on my arm.

From your description of their behavior tho, your SAEs sound just like the
Flying Foxes (Epalzeorhynchus sp.) I originally got by mistake. And I had a
heck of a time getting them out of the tank. Actually, I still have one that
continues to evade me. I don't want to insult your judgement in any way, but
are you certain you have genuine SAEs?

Farlowellas are good, as are Otocinclus cats, and Ancistrus "Plecos". I keep
them all. I don't have much experience with shrimp or snails, but I don't
believe them to be practical algae consumers for most aquarists. Your best
bet is providing an environment that's more conducive to higher plant growth
than algae.

In any event, to Dave Whittaker and Liisa Sarakontu: No, I don't have red
hair on my arm, and I'm *reasonably* sure I don't have lice. My roommate
insists on my monthly flea bath, to be sure.

Kent Elliston
Sacramento, CA