Algae Eater/bottom Feeders For Hard Water

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Offline pollydoodle

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algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« on: July 03, 2018, 08:39:28 PM »
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Any recommendations for  algae eaters and bottom feeders for hard water please

Offline Sue

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2018, 08:53:44 PM »
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The best algae eaters are nerite snails which will do well in hard water. But as your tank is newly cycled you'll need to wait a while for the tank to grow some algae before getting any algae eaters.


I know you have a 175 litre tank, but can you tell us the footprint of the tank, please. Some tanks are long and not very tall, others are very tall but not very long. For bottom dwellers the footprint is more important than the volume.

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2018, 08:55:24 PM »
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What size is your tank? and what temperature are you running it at? Is this the tank with the platies?

Just saw Sue's post - snails & shrimp are very cute.

Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2018, 09:10:43 PM »
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100 x 40 are 25. I thought snails were supposed to be a pain in the proverbial 🙄

Offline Sue

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2018, 09:26:34 PM »
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Snails are actually an important part of a tank's ecosystem.
The ones people complain about are the tiny species of ramshorn (flat spirals) and snails called tadpole/bladder/pond snails which are also small. These can take over a tank if the fish are over fed. More excess food = more snails. The trick to keeping them under control is to not over feed the fish. I have both of these in my tanks.
Then there are Malaysian Trumpet snails, small ice cream cornet shaped snails. These live in the substrate during the day and eat left over food and break down fish poo so the micro-organisms get can at it better. They do come out of the substrate at night, and also if the tank water turns a bit iffy so they are good early warning system that something in the tank needs attention. These snails are livebearers are do not need a male to have young. Again, keep them under control by not over feeding the fish. I have black MTS in both my tanks.


Then there are the snails we pay good money for.
Nerites, of various species, sizes and colours are wonderful algae eaters. Females may lay sesame seed like eggs on the decor, but these eggs can never result in a population explosion because the newly hatched snails need salt water to survive.
There are larger cone shaped snails - I don't have any but Top Cookie does. Have a look at the photos in his Cookie Crew thread in the Gallery section.
Large ramshorn snails are also popular but avoid the brown stripey Colombian ramshorn as they eat live plants.

You will also read about mystery snails, aka apple snails. We cannot get them as the EU has banned their import.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2018, 11:22:26 PM »
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Aye...  I do indeed have various Rabbit snails and a couple of Cappuccino Faunus snails, along with three Nerite snails... 

I'd agree with Sue that there's no finer snail than Nerites in terms of algae consuming, although the Rabbit snails & Faunus snails are far more interesting & entertaining than the Nerites and still would be considered excellent algae munchers... 

I haven't been blighted by excess "sesame seed" eggs from the Nerites so far, just a small batch from what must have been my original Black Helmet Nerite...  The other two are Red Racers and are small still, so too early to tell if they will be egg machines or not... 

Personally, I would recommend all three varieties as the mix adds interest etc...  :)

Like Sue, I do also have a fair few of the tiny little Ramshorn pest snails, obviously hitch-hikers on new plants at some point, but their numbers are under control and if anything I do actually quite like them...  being so diddy, they can get to spots the other snails can't reach or are too heavy for (such as smaller plant leaves etc)...  I consider myself fortunate not to have any of the pond snails, which sound like a real nuisance...

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 07:11:51 AM »
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Are you looking into this because you have an algae problem at the moment @pollydoodle ? Or are you interested in algae eaters & bottom feeder fish to build a community of fish that use different areas of the tank?

Also, are your platies the tropical ones, or the temperate variatus platies? What is the rough temperature range of your tank? This will help us to recommend fish if you want to build a community.

If you currently have an algae problem please post some pics and let us know your lighting period, plants in tank, any fertilisers added, etc. and we should be able to suggest ways to reduce algae.  :)



Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2018, 08:03:03 AM »
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No algae problem at the moment and I am planning to have a mixed community to cover all areas. I haven't a clue about the platies 🤔 I'm off fish shopping this morning. I've been doing some research re hard water species, got a list off here and cross checked it with seriously fish but am still none the wiser. Light on for about 6 hours, temp 25

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2018, 08:32:38 AM »
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I'd guess that you have platies if the shop sold them to you for a tropical tank @25C.
I have variatus platies, which are temperate/sub-tropical, so they don't have a heater in their tank, and are with other fish that prefer cooler temperatures.

I may have found a bottom feeder that could be suitable for your hard water, and I'll keep looking to see what else is available.

If you do get an algae problem in the future it is possible to reduce the amount of time that your lighting is on, which could help, but as you don't currently have a problem it's not something to worry about at the moment.  :)

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2018, 09:45:26 AM »
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I've been having a bit of a rummage around through various resources, and I think that there are several options. Some options are possibly a tad controversial, so I will try to explain the pros/cons as I go along, and the more experienced keepers can add to the discussion/advice.

1) Bristlenose plec
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/ancistrus-cf-cirrhosus/
Let's tackle the controversial part up front. As you can see from the link, your water parameters are just outside of those suggested, and it is recommended to keep fish in water which is mid-range of parameters for best health. There are people who say that these fish have been commercially bred in hard water for many generations, and there are others pointing out that evolution doesn't work that quickly for fish to tolerate such different water parameters within a matter of decades.
I will admit that I have 2 bristlenose plecs in water which is 17dh. Another down side is if you end up with 2, which grow up to be male and female, they do produce a huge amount of eggs/babies on a regular basis, and you then end up have to separate the adults into different tanks and take all the babies to the LFS.  :-[
They are great fish, and when they are feeding on the glass their mouth movements remind me of an over-active sock puppet. They need wood to munch on as well.

2) Bumblebee goby
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/brachygobius-doriae/
I don't have any experience with these, but information in the link, conformed in the book "Brackish-water fishes" (Neale Monks), these colourful little fellas are fine in hard freshwater tanks.
I'd suggest you do some more research on these and ensure you can provide them with an appropriate environment (sandy substrate, etc) prior to making any decisions, as they can apparently be a bit nippy with other bottom dwellers.

3) Candy cane goby
https://en.aqua-fish.net/fish/candy-cane-goby
Yet again, I have no experience with this fish, but according to the brackish water fish book they are also called the river goby, can grow up to 10cm, are peaceful, and the adults do best in fresh water. These may be more difficult to get hold of, and may need to be ordered.

4) Desert goby
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/chlamydogobius-eremius/
Omnivore tht grows to around 6cm. As above, I'm going on information in the book, and these may be difficult to get hold of.


I also keep blue neon gobies, and some others, in my river tank, which is a tap water/ro water mix of 14dh.
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/stiphodon-atropurpureus/

I admit that I like slightly odd, quirky looking fish, so those listed may not be to your taste. I also need to point out (again) that fish should be kept mid-range of their recommended water parameters for best health.




Offline TopCookie

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2018, 10:28:20 AM »
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I love this forum...!!!  How about that, from @Littlefish there, and @Sue earlier, for some impressive help and advice...   :D

Those answers weren't intended for me in this case of course, but thank you all the same to the regulars of the forum, you're a fantastic bunch...  :)

Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2018, 01:53:05 PM »
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Thank you Sue & Little Fish
I have just returned with my purchases.  I went armed with a modified list of fish for hard water which I found on this site.  I browsed the shop and they had very few that were on the list  :sick: I asked an assistant and he said all of them were suitable, so I quoted my water readings, Ph 7.5 and hardness 15.85, 283. Yes he said they're all ok.  which included some that weren't suited to hard water as far as I could work out, eg neon tetras.  I was probably over worrying (like a mum with a new baby!!) so I came away with 5 Black Widow tetras, 5 sunset platy, and 5 Tiger Barbs.  Rightly or wrongly, I also bought a Java fern grown on wood.

I really need to get myself a comprehensive tropical fish species guide.  I've also printed out all your replies to make life easier - so I won't have to ask you again  :))

Thank you everyone for all your help

Offline Sue

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2018, 05:12:48 PM »
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I find that most books are either out of date or give incorrect information. The website Seriously Fish is the best source of information.

Shop workers are the worst source of information. So many of them don't know anything but are trained in how to sound convincing to make a sale. The first lesson of keeping is never believe the shop until you have researched it for yourself.



For example, Seriously Fish will tell you that tiger barbs
Quote
This species is notoriously aggressive with a reputation for biting the fins of other fishes, although this behaviour only seems to be pronounced when insufficient numbers are purchased or space is limited.
You need at least 12 of them or they will terrorise the other fish. Personally I would not have them in my tank. They set up a hierarchy within the shoal by nipping and biting. If there aren't enough of them, they include other fish as part of the shoal and treat them the same way. Most of the other species cannot cope with this. I strongly suggest you get a lot more tiger barbs or take them back to the shop asap.



Balck widow tetras, on the other hand, are quite peaceful fish though they need to be in a bigger shoal. 6 is the absolute minimum number for shoaling fish with more being better. If this were my tank, I'd part ex the tiger barbs for more black widows.




Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2018, 05:23:05 PM »
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I only found out about the tiger barbs when I got home!!! :yikes:    :vcross: I haven't got time this week to return to the shop so will have to hope for the best  :o I could ask a friend if he'd like them. That's why I thought a reference book would be handy to have in my bag as sometimes a phone signal is impossible to get.   Big learning curve.

Wont get anymore for a while and then go to the shop where I bought my set up, I think they are a small private company rather than a big one, so maybe a bit more knowledgeable.  It was certainly very busy when we were there. I don't like this heat and it is a 70 mile round trip - at least its by the seaside though|!

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2018, 06:20:49 PM »
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I have a bit of a soft spot for tiger barbs, but have only ever kept them in large numbers in a species only tank. They are nippy little blighters, and will even have a go at your hand when doing tank maintenance, but I kind of like that about them.
I think Sue has made the right suggestion, trade the tiger barbs in for more of the tetras.
Best of luck with your fish, and I don't envy you a 70 mile round trip, especially in this weather.

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2018, 06:37:31 PM »
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@TopCookie it's very kind of you to say that the regulars on this forum offer good advice.  :cheers:
The more experienced people here have seen me through several incredibly steep learning curves, and a few disasters.
I'm very glad that I found this forum, and thoroughly enjoy the support, discussion and banter.  ;D

Offline Sue

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2018, 07:26:38 PM »
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Your 70 mile round trip makes my 25 mile round trip to get a new betta on Monday seem like next door  ;D And we combined it with a trip to the supermarket in the same town as the fish shop.

Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2018, 07:59:32 PM »
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Well, I went to Yeovil today, 30 mile round trip, did some shopping as well, our nearest big town. Weymouth, where I bought my set up is 70 round trip. But I'm not going to do that until its much cooler 😕 this weather I stay indoors, walk the dogs at 7am and then pull up the draw bridge

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2018, 08:05:49 PM »
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Can't say I blame you on that.
The chillers on my axolotl tanks are working overtime to keep the water cool enough, and if this warm weather continues (forecast 28C here tomorrow) I'll be tempted to get in the tank with them.  :o

Offline Sue

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2018, 08:06:07 PM »
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I don't like hot weather either. My husband loves it and keeps comparing his brown body to my pale one, but I burn badly if I venture into the sun too much.

But at least I have a full head of hair and don't have to live in a hat to stop a bald head burning  ;D
(Actually that's part of my problem. I have very thick hair and it's like wearing a blanket on top of my head at the moment  :o )

Offline fcmf

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2018, 08:16:08 PM »
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and if this warm weather continues (forecast 28C here tomorrow) I'll be tempted to get in the tank with them.  :o
After the comment on another thread, just hope axolotls aren't like male livebearer fish!  :o

I have very thick hair and it's like wearing a blanket on top of my head at the moment  :o )
The disconcerting part is having fine hair and assuming all is well, then discovering that the parting is sore and sunburnt. ::)


Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2018, 08:27:27 PM »
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Axolotls have poor eye sight, so will attempt to "sexy dance" and nudge anything (decor, other males). Luckily they only lay spermatophores and exhibit breeding behaviour approximately once every 3 months, so I should be safe.  :)

I also have fine hair, and have had a hairdresser point out that I've got sunburn on the parting.  :-[
The rest of me is generally plastered with factor 50 and/or covered.

Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2018, 05:22:41 PM »
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I've just rung the aquatic shop and asked if I can take the tiger barbs back because as a newbie fish keeper I didn't know they weren't a good idea and the girl said ' oh yes, they can be a bit vicious!!'  they are going back sunday. 

I had no idea I could do this until Sue said.  Once again, thank you

Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2018, 02:26:29 PM »
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I find that most books are either out of date or give incorrect information. The website Seriously Fish is the best source of information.

Why do the book become out of date? Does this mean the basic info changes a lot

I have just bought a book, (from Amazon) which on the face of it, looked just what I wanted.  but although the pictures were 'nice' the information was sketchy re hard water, pH..    Just said, soft, medium, hard.  no figures to go by.  Oh well  learning all the time


Offline pollydoodle

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2018, 02:29:54 PM »
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Can I get snails now, or how long will I need to wait before I do

Online Littlefish

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2018, 02:36:33 PM »
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I can't see any problem with getting snails now.  :)

Offline Sue

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2018, 04:06:34 PM »
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As with most things in life, our fishkeeping knowledge is increasing all the time. It is not that long ago that the nitrogen cycle was not understood, and most books still do not mention fishless cycling. Most books do not mention properly the concept of matching fish to water type. The books I have looked at seem more aimed at people who want a living ornament.

Wait till you have some algae before getting snails. If you want nerites, I have never seen mine eat anything but algae, they don't touch cucumber/courgette for example. Though if you want Malaysian trumpet snails, you can get them now as they eat anything.

Offline Matt

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Re: algae eater/bottom feeders for hard water
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2018, 09:20:52 PM »
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One thing to note with nerite snails.. it has surprised me just how much poop they produce! And therefore how much cleaning up after them is required!. I don't have that problem with my Malaysian trumpet snails though...

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