Algae Eaters

MtbGirl

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My husband & I just bought my son a tank (see siggy for specs) and we're realizing that the algae eater, Herbie, will get big and will need to be replaced.

I'm going to talk to my son about this tonight, he's 8 years old and is quite attached to Herbie after only a week.

Our LFS said we could bring Herbie back when he's bigger and exchange him for a smaller fish. However, if my son decides he'd rather have a fish he can get attached to and keep for a long time, would a bristlenose plec be our best bet?? Is there a more attractive algae eater we could get??

We'd like to stay away from shrimps and snails. Thanks!!
 
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nmonks

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In a 7 gallon tank, I'd personally avoid even bristlenose plecs, which still get to about 10-15 cm long. Consider dwarf Peckoltia species (sometimes called dwarf clown plecs) or even Otocinclus species (often called "ottos"). Otocinclus do well in groups, and I find trios work nicely. They're delicate at first, but after a month of feeding and care, they're perfectly robust. Give them cucumber, courgette slices, bloodworms, and algae pellets.

Though you aren't wild about snails and shrimps, apple snails at least can be very entertaining in the right tank. Some species damage plants, but apart from that, they're great fun. When fully grown (tennis-ball size!) they're spectacular.

Cheers,

Neale
 

MtbGirl

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Thanks, I will take that into consideration. We have fake plants in the tank, I'm assuming the snails wouldn't bother these??

We'll let my son decide, but the bottom line is Herbie will eventually need to be replaced. :(
 
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nmonks

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A nice apple snail is plenty of fun and will entertain any child. They come in yellow and brown, and have long wavy tentacles and funny eyes. Most people fail with them because they don't feed them: like any animal, they need something to eat. A bit of lettuce, a slice of cucumber, and the odd algae or catfish pellet will do nicely.

If you get two, they'll breed. You won't get a plague of them though: they lay their eggs above the water line (often underneath the hood) in raspberry-coloured (and shaped) masses, and you can remove these if you don't want babies. But you do, they're very cute, easily raised, and can be sold to aquarium shops.

Cheers,

Neale
 

MtbGirl

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Would it be okay to get only one of the algae eater species you've mentioned above, rather than groups?? We already have 12 fish in the tank and I'm worried about overstocking... we're pushing the limit as it is!!
 
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nmonks

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You have what, around a dozen small tetras? Adding 2-3 Otocinclus should be fine. It's not ideal, and a bigger tank would be nicer. Even a 10 gallon tank would be a significant improvement. But, provided you do the water changes, should be fine.

The old rule is you measure width by length in inches, to get surface area of the tank, and then divide by ten. That's how many inches of small (neon sized) fish you can keep safely. Otocinclus are neon sized, for this calculation anyway.

Cheers,

Neale

Would it be okay to get one species of the algae eaters you've mentioned above?? We already have 12 fish in the tank and I'm worried about overstocking... we're pushing the limit as it is!!
 

MtbGirl

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We wanted to start off with a smaller tank because we didn't know how my son would take to fish-keeping. The 5-gallons seemed so small, the 10-gallons seemed too big. So far my son is enjoying the fish and takes care of them, hopefully he will continue to do so as time goes on.

We plan on doing water changes weekly to keep the fish healthy.

Thank you for your help, I will definitely talk to my son tonight. :)
 

MtbGirl

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Well, my son definitely wants to keep Herbie, and he understands that Herbie will need to go back to the pet store someday.

My husband was wondering if we could keep Herbie in his own tank, rather than return him, and then get another algae eater as per Nmonks' recommendations. Is this a good idea?? What size tank would be good for Herbie, and what kind of supplies would he need in the tank??
 
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nmonks

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Herbie's the sucking loach, right?

You'd probably do best asking specifics in the Oddballs section. There's also a nice profile of them in the fish index.

Cheers,

Neale
 

RandomWiktor

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mtbgirl - CAEs are one of my favorite species of fish, but keeping one would involve getting a fairly large tank, which I'm not sure you'd be willing/able to do since your current tank is only 7g. This is an article I wrote for Friends of Fish about CAEs; it has some care info and general information about the species. It has one bit of misinformation - the golden variety is NOT wild caught, only the standard is, and it sounds like they're at least starting to farm those - but is Ok if you don't mind it being a bit opinionated. I think it would be a very good life lesson for your son to keep the fish since pets are a life-long commitment, but if you simply can't accomodate the fish's adult size, it would be best to return him.
 

Elliott 03

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My husband & I just bought my son a tank (see siggy for specs) and we're realizing that the algae eater, Herbie, will get big and will need to be replaced.

I'm going to talk to my son about this tonight, he's 8 years old and is quite attached to Herbie after only a week.

Our LFS said we could bring Herbie back when he's bigger and exchange him for a smaller fish. However, if my son decides he'd rather have a fish he can get attached to and keep for a long time, would a bristlenose plec be our best bet?? Is there a more attractive algae eater we could get??

We'd like to stay away from shrimps and snails. Thanks!!
I'm testing to see if my picture works sorry if this is annoying
 

tetraman

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Yes, there are some more exciting varieties. You'll find some on websites such as liveaquaria.com. They can be fairly expensive but remember that they should live in their teens and possibly beyond, and, with a kid (like me!) keeping him, he will be loved and cherished.

EDIT - I just read the second page. Yes, Herbie MUST go. He will get huge and latch on to and feed off of other fish. BEWARE!!!
 
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