Cleaners

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Tyler777

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How many bottom feeders can I have in a 46 G tank ?
Can I add algae eater too ? If so how many can I add 8n the same 46G tank ?
The fish in there already are 1 female swordtail, 3 mollies, 2 serpae tetras, 3 ? Neons, 1 dwarf gouramie, 2 cleaners ( dunno what they are but spend most of their day sucking the glass n ornament ? And 1 pleco.
All the different fish are small except for the gouramie which is normal size the rest of the fish r not their normal size.
Also my wife has a 5 G tank with 1 male betta n some kindbof catfish I never seen bfore . She is gonna add maybe 2 female bettas n she wants to know how many cleaners can she add in the that 5 G tank with the betta n the catfish
 
Which are the best bottom feeders you can add to a tank ( some to bbeasy to find at petstores )

And which are the best algae eaters for a tank ( also from normal pets tores )

Any other kind of cleaners can you add to ur tank ?
 
Unless you can swim, there are no cleaners you can add.

It's a bit of a myth. Are you and I cleaners for birds because we're on the bottom and they fly overhead? Fish occupy different niches in a tank, and feed differently depending on what the niche is. The aquarium business markets bottom feeders as cleaners, but that's business, not biology.

Ancistrus will eat some types of algae off glass, and Otocinclus can handle algae in older, well established and stable tanks. Most fish sold as cleaners, like common plecos, will make your tank dirtier with their enormous waste production.

Ultimately, what we don't want to hear is we're the cleaners, with weekly 25 to 40% water changes, and quick scrapes of the glass. Back in the 1960s to 80s, there was a belief in a balanced aquarium, with no real maintenance but the fish and plants doing everything. It was a fantasy, and the idea of bottom feeders as cleaners dates back to it. Things work much better if we look at fish and consider what they need before we try to make them fit what we see as our needs.

That said, a shoal of Corydoras are fantastic bottom dwellers that are fun to watch and keep. But they aren't really in a tank for a purpose, they are there because you like them.

You ask very good questions.
 
The male betta will not live with females. They only socialize to mate, and otherwise, he will kill them. Technically, in a very large tank, they can avoid each other, but we're talking way bigger aquariums than yours. They're solitary fish.

You're going to have to figure out what the "cleaner" fish are. No one can help otherwise. The pleco is already a problem, as it will outgrow your tank, and it won't be slow about doing that. Common plecos are always a mistake unless you have huge tanks and they are your favourite fish. With that one fish, you (sadly) are overstocked.
 
What is your GH (general hardness) of your water supply? You can check this on your water provider's webpage on the quality report, or by testing the water with a GH test kit (such as that sold by API), or by taking a sample of the water in a clean jar and asking a fish store to test for GH.
Some fish need hard water, some fish like corydoras need soft water.

Any other kind of cleaners can you add to ur tank ?
As Gary said, not actual cleaners. But creatures that would find left over food or algae, include: amano shrimp,
neocardinia shrimp (common ones are red cherry shrimp),
nerite snails.
They are not suitable for very soft water as they need minerals for their shells or exoskeletons. They can be incompatible with some fish as they may be injured or eaten, or out-competed for food. So we would need more details to work this out.
 
The male betta will not live with females. They only socialize to mate, and otherwise, he will kill them. Technically, in a very large tank, they can avoid each other, but we're talking way bigger aquariums than yours. They're solitary fish.

You're going to have to figure out what the "cleaner" fish are. No one can help otherwise. The pleco is already a problem, as it will outgrow your tank, and it won't be slow about doing that. Common plecos are always a mistake unless you have huge tanks and they are your favourite fish. With that one fish, you (sadly) are overstocked.
Yes please don't add females to the betta tank, you'll have a bloodbath on your hands, and it is already stocked enough for a 5g. Male and female bettas don't live together they only "meet" to breed.

Tank maintenance is up to us, yes some things can help but we have to strike the balance. Agree with Gary, if its a common pleco it'll outgrow the tank. While they do clean the bottom they're also really messy themselves.

I think maybe just let the tank settle with what you have for a while, you said yourself most of the fish aren't full size so they have growing to do.
 
Ancistrus will eat some types of algae off glass, and Otocinclus can handle algae in older, well established and stable tanks. Most fish sold as cleaners, like common plecos, will make your tank dirtier with their enormous waste production.
Like Gary said. Pleco's will spend the majority of their life nibbling on algae in the tank. But they will spend the same amount of time poo'ing in it. Creating a nice topping to the substrate to vacuum.

Then as they won't eat all algae or all algae types you will still need to scrape the tank the same you would anyway.

So get sold as "Cleaner fish" because you love those fish. Not to do the maintenance you will need to do regardless.

That's not an advert against such fish though, they are wonderful fish.
 
Unless you can swim, there are no cleaners you can add.

It's a bit of a myth. Are you and I cleaners for birds because we're on the bottom and they fly overhead? Fish occupy different niches in a tank, and feed differently depending on what the niche is. The aquarium business markets bottom feeders as cleaners, but that's business, not biology.

Ancistrus will eat some types of algae off glass, and Otocinclus can handle algae in older, well established and stable tanks. Most fish sold as cleaners, like common plecos, will make your tank dirtier with their enormous waste production.

Ultimately, what we don't want to hear is we're the cleaners, with weekly 25 to 40% water changes, and quick scrapes of the glass. Back in the 1960s to 80s, there was a belief in a balanced aquarium, with no real maintenance but the fish and plants doing everything. It was a fantasy, and the idea of bottom feeders as cleaners dates back to it. Things work much better if we look at fish and consider what they need before we try to make them fit what we see as our needs.

That said, a shoal of Corydoras are fantastic bottom dwellers that are fun to watch and keep. But they aren't really in a tank for a purpose, they are there because you like them.

You ask very good questions.
Well you learn something everyday. Pet stores sell many of those as cleaners n even some websites talk bout them as cleaners of the tanknu need.
That's why I ask people who keep fish n won't try to sell me anything.
 
You have to mistrust store info - not because they are dishonest. Largely, because they don't care. The smaller stores that supported a family while being a labour of love have been swept away by shareholder owned corporations that don't hire expertise. It's too expensive.
They hire generally nice kids who like animals and would like to work with puppies and kittens. They get to net fish instead, and are barely trained. They repeat what they've been told, and mean it. The info is outdated, commercially driven and often really off the wall, but it sells fish.

The cleaners idea would be wonderful. I wish such fish existed. But really, you have fish that feed on the bottom, and fish that feed in the water column. There are debris eaters (detritivores) but they won't clean stuff up.
I know I may sound like I'm being contrary to be contrary, but in close to 60 years keeping fish, I have never had one clean a tank. I've heard the 'cleaner' story the whole time, and believed it for a while. They used to call Corydoras the "garbagemen" of the aquarium. Now we know they eat small insect larvae and creatures in the sand - none of which have anything to do with garbage. They actually like a high quality, high protein diets.
Common plecos only eat algae when they are very young. As they grow, it isn't enough for their size, and they move on to other foods.
 
You have to mistrust store info - not because they are dishonest. Largely, because they don't care. The smaller stores that supported a family while being a labour of love have been swept away by shareholder owned corporations that don't hire expertise. It's too expensive.
They hire generally nice kids who like animals and would like to work with puppies and kittens. They get to net fish instead, and are barely trained. They repeat what they've been told, and mean it. The info is outdated, commercially driven and often really off the wall, but it sells fish.

The cleaners idea would be wonderful. I wish such fish existed. But really, you have fish that feed on the bottom, and fish that feed in the water column. There are debris eaters (detritivores) but they won't clean stuff up.
I know I may sound like I'm being contrary to be contrary, but in close to 60 years keeping fish, I have never had one clean a tank. I've heard the 'cleaner' story the whole time, and believed it for a while. They used to call Corydoras the "garbagemen" of the aquarium. Now we know they eat small insect larvae and creatures in the sand - none of which have anything to do with garbage. They actually like a high quality, high protein diets.
Common plecos only eat algae when they are very young. As they grow, it isn't enough for their size, and they move on to other foods.
I do appreciate ur honesty my friend. Besidesbyou pretty much everybody else told me the thing bout store cleaners not being cleaners at all.

I do appreciate the share of advice, 4xperience n koo
Corys and loaches are nice. I just bought a pakistan loach, and they grow not too big up to 2.5 inches. I agree about the plecos; they always outgrow the tanks and are very messy.

Get used to cleaning the glass yourself, LOL.
I do believe you n I was also fooled by the " cleaners " cute story.
After 60 years of keeping fish of course ud been around the block quiet e few times when I come to keeping fish.
I believe you n thank you for your response
 
I don't believe in the concept of cleaner fish. Hence my sig line. You should only get a fish because you like the way it looks and/or behaves. And that's after considering if it is compatible with your water parameters, tank size, tank mates etc. and if it's needs will be met.
I love corydoras. They're peaceful, have a unique look, have interesting behaviors, and because they inhabit a certain level of the tank, they fit in well with many aquariums. But they are not janitors. Some people believe that corys are prone to starvation. They aren't. The issue is that they have their own dietary needs that are not met by subsisting off the scraps of what other fish don't eat. The problem is that people add corys to a tank expecting them to clean up. The real issue is that these owners don't discipline themselves to not overfeed and expect the fish to compensate for that.
You see this all the time in fish keeping. People have some kind of issue with their tank; excess algae, pest snails, etc. And other people rush in to recommend a fish to solve this problem. "I have too many pest snails." "Get a clown loach." They don't ask the size of the tank, the water parameters, the livestock or the substrate. They just immediately go to recommending a fish. One that will outgrow many tanks and should be in a shoal. And again, this doesn't address the root cause.
I have my own experience with this. I had a pest snail infestation. So I did what a lot of people do. I got some assassin snails. Here's the dirty little secret of assassin snails. They actually prefer to eat left over fish food to other snails. The reason I had so many snails is because I was overfeeding. So not only were the pest snails going to keep proliferating, the assassins weren't going to do much about it. I had a leaky roof and instead of fixing the hole, I was looking for a new bucket and was surprised that didn't fix the leak. It wasn't until I addressed the root cause, which was me overfeeding that I was able to get a handle on the pest snails. It took some discipline, some manual removal, and the assassin snails helped a little.
Adding an animal to fix a problem often creates more problems. People buy a pleco to eat algae and find out that they are poop machines. Or it's inhumane to a fish that has it's own needs. Or they end up being a disappointment because the fish has no idea that it has a task to do and can't possibly address root causes like overfeeding or excess lighting. Bottom line is that maintaining the tank is our job, not the fishes'.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
 
I agree with everything you said, especially about people overfeeding their fish. I think LFSs are trying to sell the consumer anything just to stay in business, which is sad for the fish and our environment. I don't know of a way to prevent that other than education through forums like this.
I have my own experience with this. I had a pest snail infestation. So I did what a lot of people do. I got some assassin snails. Here's the dirty little secret of assassin snails. They actually prefer to eat left over fish food to other snails.
On a lighter note, I have a 20 gallon tank that got a nasty snail infestation from plants I bought at a LFS. I put in 3 assassin snails, and in two weeks they completely killed every last pest snail. I purposely never overfed the fish in that tank, so those snails were very hungry. I am taking the assassins back to the fish store.👍
 

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