Lake Malawi Species • Best algae eaters for mbuna tank?

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Best algae eaters for mbuna tank?

Postby cichfeeble » Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:02 am

I have a post in one of the other categories about my algae problem, but I am looking for specific advice from mbuna keepers, here, because i am not sure the general advice given in tank setups category applies.

I'm having a brown algae "issue". Part of the problem may be that it's a newish tank setup (less than 2 months). Part of the problem may be that I don't keep the lights on long enough each day. But at present I have no algae eaters at all in this tank.

I am reluctant to go with BN Pleco in my new tank, because, honestly, the ones that I have/had in my first tank seem rather pathetic. One of them died, and the other one remains at the same 3 inches it was 7 months ago - and it's constantly in hiding, not doing its job :)

Any suggestions for more efficient eaters of brown algae that are likely to do well with mbuna (specifically: mainganos, yellow labs, red zebras)? my pH is around 8.1 and dKH around 14.

And in case you're wondering, the nitrates are ALWAYS under 20, typically around 10ppm.

Thanks!
55g: Red Zebra Hybrids, Saulosi
55g: Red Zebra, Yellow Lab
10g: Saulosi fry/Yellow Lab fry
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Postby GTZ » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:15 pm

Otocinclus are good for brown (diatom) algae.
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Postby 702Cichlid » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:32 am

You could try a Red Tailed Black Shark...they do eat some algae and are a bit tougher and more aggressive than a Ancistrus Pleco. However, the diatoms should go away on their own in a few months, and diatoms are not really preferred cuisine for most algae-feeders. Also, RTBS tend to hang in the same areas as mbuna so they can cause some tank drama. I still say the BN Pleco is your best bet for an algae eater if you're too impatient to wait out the diatom bloom.

Best of Luck
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Postby DJRansome » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:08 am

GTZ wrote:Otocinclus are good for brown (diatom) algae.
Otos may not be able to stand up to mbuna aggression, and certainly not better than a bristlenose I would think.
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Postby mmz3 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:50 am

DJRansome wrote:
GTZ wrote:Otocinclus are good for brown (diatom) algae.
Otos may not be able to stand up to mbuna aggression, and certainly not better than a bristlenose I would think.


i have BNand chinese algae eaters in my hap tank. i find both hold there grond, the CAE are always out and about, while the BN wait till dark to forge. the BN are a much better algae eater though and tend to stay small around 5 inch mark, which is good. when reg plecos get big they get lazy and are unable to "clean" in some spots.
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Postby Fogelhund » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:02 pm

THIS is the best solution for algae on glass with mbuna.
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Postby Ansphire » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:24 pm

LOL Fogelhund..

Dont expect bristle nose plecos to get big.. most of them don't grow that much.. I had a pair and the biggest one was the male at a wooooping 4'... Which i loved cus to be honest they are not the best looking creatures in the planet...

now i use a magnet cleaner btw.. lol
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Postby cjacob316 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:52 am

i like to leave the algae on the rocks for my mbuna, they love it
see my tanks for details
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Postby ridley25 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:49 am

Agree with Fogelhund that a good scrape once a week is the best way.

I have 2 equal-aged BN plecos; one in my SA tank and one in my mbuna tank.

My SA pleco is boss of his tank and he's huge - a good 5" with a giant head. He eats what he wants when he wants.

My other pleco is out all the time during the day and gets no flak from my saulosi. (I'm lucky) But she's no more than 3 inches since the saulosi beat her to all the food.

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Postby seachicken » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:17 am

Chinese algae eaters are great. They will help keep rocks and other surfaces clean. Your arm is still the best for the glass. I added three and they have made a big difference.
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Postby GTZ » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:21 pm

DJRansome wrote:
GTZ wrote:Otocinclus are good for brown (diatom) algae.
Otos may not be able to stand up to mbuna aggression, and certainly not better than a bristlenose I would think.

Agreed. With adequate lighting, eventually you'll have more green than brown. Diatom is quite common with new setups.
And I'll restate what I always tell people who want rid of algae in their mbuna tank.
Leave it, they'll eat it. Except for labs. I clean only the front window and have a nice carpet on the back, sides and rocks.
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Re:

Postby partsrep » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:09 pm

GTZ wrote:
DJRansome wrote:
GTZ wrote:Otocinclus are good for brown (diatom) algae.
Otos may not be able to stand up to mbuna aggression, and certainly not better than a bristlenose I would think.

Agreed. With adequate lighting, eventually you'll have more green than brown. Diatom is quite common with new setups.
And I'll restate what I always tell people who want rid of algae in their mbuna tank.
Leave it, they'll eat it. Except for labs. I clean only the front window and have a nice carpet on the back, sides and rocks.


I have always had issues with diatoms. I've tried lights on, lights off, phosphate adsorbent and nothing seems to help except a good old fashioned scrubbing and cleaning. I keep my Mbuna Labidochromis tank at 7.8PH which is a bit high for Otocinclus. Will they acclimate and survive in my tank? I've had them in another FW community tank I have and they do a great job of cleaning the diatom algae. Thoughts?
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Re: Best algae eaters for mbuna tank?

Postby smitty814 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:34 pm

Olive nerite snails. Tough enough for mbuna and eat a ton of algae. They only reproduce in brackish water so won't over populate.
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Re: Best algae eaters for mbuna tank?

Postby Thalas_shaya » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:05 am

smitty814 wrote:Olive nerite snails. Tough enough for mbuna and eat a ton of algae. They only reproduce in brackish water so won't over populate.


+1 - nothing loves diatoms like a nerite snail loves diatoms. And you gotta love a snail that can't do kinky hermaphroditic snail tricks and populate a tank all by itself!
Plecos only eat diatoms when they're small, as they grow they get both omnivorous AND messy - meaning they poop more and eat less algae. This does not make for great cleanup, IMO.
And, as mentioned above, diatoms are a new-tank-milestone. They'll go away on their own if you give them time and light. Then you'll have green algae and your Mbuna will happily graze on that.
-110gal Mbuna build in progress (no water yet!)
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Re: Best algae eaters for mbuna tank?

Postby forever_fishing » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:44 pm

I have a squad of three bristle noses in my tank they do a good job if you want a bigger ancistrus specie go for a medusa pleco. Dont get a panaque or a normal pleco. Another pleco you can try is a bull dog pleco. If you dont want more fish or anything the best solution is a algae magnet scrubber thing I heard theyre good
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