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Planning my first community tank


StephanieBell
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So, I'm moving my sorority girls to individual tanks and I'm considering keeping their 3ft sorority to use a a community tank (although I was meant to be downsizing).

I have algae issues in this tank so want to try and make it more self cleaning (in regards to algae - I'm still going to change the water, obviously).

I don't want to keep too many different species. Less is more...

This is what I was thinking:



  • Cherry Shrimp (to clean the algae off of the plants, particularly the Ambulia)
  • Some kind of little shoaling fish (maybe 2 or 3 compatible varieties of Tetras)

What I need is something to clean the algae off of the glass (there's not too much - it's mainly on the plants). Nothing big and no snails as my water is pretty acidic. Suggestions?

Also do you think the Cherries will be ok with some little Tetras?

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The best algae control would be to try to get the balance of light and nutrients correct. If you wipe down the inside surfaces of the tank whenever you change water you can minimise algae. Wipe it down even if you can't see any algae. Stops it taking a hold. If the tetras are small the shrimp should be able to survive for a little while but I would expect that their numbers will slowly dwindle away. Most fish will have a go at shrimp. Even if they can't swallow the whole shrimp they'll just nibble at a leg or a feeler, an eye... I'd be inclined to give the shrimp a smaller tank so you can enjoy a nice community tank. You could then have your tetras, maybe some rasboras, a few corys, maybe a bristlenose. But don't expect fish to be able to clean up the algae. I've never found it a very good approach unless the algae problem was all that serious.

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Thanks guys.

In all honesty I know very little about fish species other than bettas!

KatuwaToy, I researched a bit about Otos - that's a type of catfish right? I read that they are pretty small which would be good.

Razzi, I can't seem to get the balance right. Tried adding ferts (Flourish) and didn't make a difference. I've reduced time with the light on to only 5hrs a day, not sure if that made it better or worse. Perhaps the problem is that that tank is in a room the only has day blinds, so it lets daylight in from dawn to dusk.

When I clean the tank I can never get rid of all of it. I end up with clumps of it settling on the bottom a few hours after vacuuming it up. Then I vacuum that and it just disperses throughout the water and I end up with the same result!

Might still give them cherries a go and see what happens. The main issue is the algae in the fine hairs of the ambulia, which I assume will be ignored by most fish.

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Is the light from the window hitting the tank directly? If it's just a bright room, it shouldn't be a big deal. But if it's hitting the tank directly then you should consider blocking off the window or shielding the tank. Once you've got a lot of algae, it's better to strip the tank and start again. What's probably happening is that you don't start off with enough plants to absorb all the nutrients produced by the fish. Are you using plain gravel or one of the substrates which contain fertiliser? I agree it's a hard balance to get right. If there's not enough light, the plants won't grow fast enough to use the nutrients. The other thing to realise is that the balance is a moving state. Planted tanks don't just sit there looking perfect the whole time. They do need a bit of maintenance. Regular water changes and not overstocking will keep the nutrients down. Have some fast growing stem plants or floating plants like watersprite can help stabilise the tank at the beginning. Just don't be shy about regularly trimming stem plants and watersprite needs to be removed regularly. You should probably also do something to stabilise your pH a bit. In highly acidic water, the plants don't do so great. Just a small piece of coral added to the tank can keep pH very stable.

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I watch it all day (it's in my home office) and it gets some afternoon light on one side of the tank for a couple of hours. It's not opposite the window, it's next to it. But it is a very bright room!

I add a few pinches of coral sand in the corner of the tank to help keep the PH stable and when I see it getting dissolved away I add a bit more.

Plain fine gravel. Plants are doing really well but the algae is doing just as well. I only have 4 girls in a 3ft tank at the moment so I wouldn't say that there would be too much nutrients from the fish, but in saying that I don't have that many plants and they are all pretty slow growing. I have a big java fern that is about 1 1/2 years old, doing really well and probably about 6 or 7 baby java ferns that came from that plant I guess. I also have Ambulia, maybe 12 - 15 peices and a couple of other other stem plants that I killed most of (don't know what they are, got them from subscape).

I do a water change every 2 weeks, about 30%. Probably should do less water more often, but you know how it gets!

Do you think I should try increasing light and adding the ferts again at the same time?

Edited by Steph90
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