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Zsolt Csillag was asking about SAEs and what they looked like. I believe
someone provided a pretty good site that describes SAEs fairly well.
However, I would like to add a few additional tidbits about them. I have had
SAEs for over two years now and while they do help in controlling algae,
they are not miracle workers. You will still have to do your part in
controlling algae (lights, nutrients, water changes, substrates, etc.,
Another fact about SAEs that I have learned the hard way relates to their
seemingly lack of tolerance of low oxygen levels. After losing several SAEs
following severe plant trimmings, I finally wised up and started allowing
for more surface agitation for at least 12 hours after any trimmings that
amounted to more than just removing a couple of leaves. I am not sure, but
it seems to me that plants don't produce as much oxygen after they have been
trimmed. I don't know if it is just the lost of plant surface because of the
trimming, or if the plants actually shut down after being trimmed. However,
I do know that oxygen levels decrease significantly afterwards and you have
to keep an eye on your SAEs becoming overly stressed. I have even had some
larger ones jump out of the tank in search for more oxygen. I might add that
I inject CO2 and I could decrease its output for 12 hours too, but surface
agitation is easier for me.
One other thing I have learned over the years is that there are usually two
SAE characteristics that you can depend on spotting with SAEs even when they
are under a lot of stress. Look for the lack of color in the fins. If you
see ANY color, it is almost a sure bet that they are NOT SAEs. Also, in most
cases, the dark lateral strip will go all the way to the end of the tail
(not just to the base of the tail). Sometimes, if they are completely
stressed out at the LFS, it might be hard to tell if the stripe is all the
way to the end, but give them a few minutes to calm down and you can usually
see it. If the strip is not completely to the end, they are NOT SAEs.
I have found that in your home aquariums, SAEs do school and Flying Foxes
don't. However, all of them will school when they are stressed out in the 10
gallon tank at the LFS. So I wouldn't rely on that trait when buying them
from a LFS.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have places to buy them, I hope
these few hints will help you find the right ones.
Kenguin at homemail_com