Recommendations for solitary cleanup critter (not snails)? - GTA Aquaria Forum - Aquarium Fish & Plants serving the Greater Toronto Area.
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General Freshwater Discussion For all topics relating to freshwater fish to the in's and out's of maintaining a freshwater tank.

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Old 07-17-2019, 04:31 PM   #1
alphaparrot
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Question Recommendations for solitary cleanup critter (not snails)?

I have a 20g high stocked with 7 kyathit danios and 10 hengel's rasboras (trigonostigma hengeli, sometimes called glowlight rasboras), and a mix of live plants and fake plants. I've kept 1-2 nerite snails there in the past, but the with the exception of one who stuck around for 9 months, most of them have not lasted more than 3-6 weeks. The ones I have now (Neritina juttingae) have been in for about 7 weeks, but have been increasingly lethargic, and might be reaching end-of-life. As far as I can tell, nothing in the water is toxic to them, and there's definitely algae to eat (mostly the brown diatom stuff). I suspect that some of the danios might be bullying them, or maybe the GTA shops just don't have great nerite stocks and I get weak/old snails. This is reducing my willingness to keep trying snails in this tank. It'd be great to have something in there to nibble on the algae, but I'm skeptical that the tank could support a school of corys or otos, and I'm not interested in getting just 1-2 of something that needs to be kept in a group (plus it's a gravel bottom). Anyone have a recommendation of something that might work that isn't a nerite snail, won't get massive or lonely, and is unlikely to be bullied by rambunctious danios? I could put cherry shrimp in there once the ones in the adjacent tank breed, but I'm 85% certain the danios would eat them.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:05 AM   #2
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A large mystery snail might do ok. Or a bristlenose pleco.
Make sure you don't get a common pleco, they grow HUGE. And clown plecos are cute but don't eat much algae, mostly wood. BN pleco will need wood as well though.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:12 AM   #3
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Also, when I read up on how to care for mystery snails, it turned out they need more than just algae. Also a source of calcium to build their shells. I've got a cuttle bone in my tank for that. (Idk if it makes a difference, but the snail is happy and active enough).
There are people who make "snail jello" to feed their snails. I've not gone that far yet. He likes the pleco wafers well enough though.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:10 PM   #4
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Yeah, I've usually kept a close eye on hardness, calcium availability (I do the cuttlebone trick too), and supplemental feeding--though nerites are notoriously picky and usually ignore anything that's not algae or diatoms. I've frustratingly fished a number of uneaten blanched vegetables out of the tank, while cursing at my ungrateful nerite snails.

A bristlenose is an interesting idea--their max size of 4-5 inches has made me think they'd still be on the big side for this tank. 20g highs are 24x12x16, and a 24x12 bottom area for a 4-inch bottom-dweller seems like not a ton. There's a large enough diversity of vertical surfaces though that maybe they'd be okay. Wood wouldn't be a problem; Menagerie usually has some nice small pieces and I have places in the tank where it could go without ruining the appearance. That also puts the tank at the high end of stocking--I have a pothos sucking down nitrates, but adding a fish that big would mean bigger water changes. I'd be interested though to hear if other members think a bristlenose would be okay in a well-stocked 20g high.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:20 PM   #5
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Years ago I had a BN in a tank that size. She did well enough. Granted there were only a handful of platies in there with her and nothing else except plants and wood.
The footprint of my current 30G tank is the same, and I have 3 clown plecos in there. They poop enough to make me want to clean the tank every day... but yeah, not the same chow down on algae as the BN by far.
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