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Convict Tank Cleaner

4031 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  bernie comeau
I have my first convict in a 29 gallon long with 3 serpae tetras and one 3-4" pleco...i never realized how messy a fish the convict is. can you make any other suggestions of tank mates that may help with the cleaning process?
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IME, chinese algae eaters (CAE) make good cleaners and do eat small bits of uneaten food.
illy-d said:
bernie comeau said:
IME, chinese algae eaters (CAE) make good cleaners and do eat small bits of uneaten food.
Agreed - but they can get pretty big & nasty... I put 2 small ones in a tank I had my keyholes & festivums in and they did an amazing job at eat algae etc. but once they passed about 4" they started chasing the cichlids trying to suck their slime coat... I promptly gave them to a buddy that had a Rift Lake cichlid tank and his africans were able to keep these guys in line... SO I would think convicts would be able to as well... Also, these fish are now with my buddy and are at least 3 or 4 years old and they still haven't passed 6 inches yet - but I have heard they can get to a foot long (it could take awhile).
Big? :lol: C'mon, I'd like to hear from anyone that has ever seen one over 7" and I want to see a picture of it! A raphael cat gets not only longer but much bigger, no doubt. BN pleco as well. Bear in mind as well, a CAE is skinny; no doubt a much smaller fish then either a raphael cat or BN pleco ( Which are also options, IMO). That very exceptional specimens of CAE could get 12" or that size in it s natural habitat, but based on this criterea many of the fish we commonly say get to a certain size, exceptional specimens might get twice the typical size or more. A 6" CAE is a big one and you rarely see any at that size; in all my life I have only seen a couple that size.

Nasty? Sure. But it's going in a tank with a convict. Convicts can kill weak or lesser fish. A bottom feeder either has to be sturdy or be able to defend itself. IME, CAE work well in a tank with convicts and they certainly don't push convicts around unless the convict is very small. With larger CA, such as JD or RD, IME, CAE eventually end up getting eaten because of their small girth. Now of course I'm not recommending CAE with Keyholes :lol:
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illy-d said:
^You're right I've never seen a CAE that big - but apparently they can get to that size...
And a convict CAN get 8"+

But they don't typically get that big and nobody says a convict is unsuitable for a 29 gal. because it COULD get 8"+.

Bottom line is, a CAE is a VERY small fish. I have had raphael cats get over 8" and very thick and fat. It's a much bigger fish then a CAE, though from my perspective a raphael is still suitable for a 29 gal., as it probably won't get that large in a 29 gal. A BN pleco as well can get 8"+ but from my perspective is also an option for a 29 gal. . Really, the CAE is a much smaller fish and is therefore actually more suitable for a smaller tank then the other bottom feeders mentioned.

CAE is not a good community fish but then neither is a convict. IME they are suitable tankmates, even in small tanks. Serpae tetras on the other hand, IMO, are way more risky with a convict and have less of a chance of making it, then does a CAE.
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