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I've seen some Tank of the Month winners, and it looks like there is literally no algae at all on any of the glass..

For 55G that i setup, how do i achieve that clean look, with minimal work scrubbing glass.?
 

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You will never get TOTM-clean glass with just a pleco. Most tanks you see with spotless glass have been scraped.

And the tanks you see that look even cleaner than that (especially if you don't see filters & other equipment) are sometimes tanks that are set up just for photographing the fish.

Which isn't to say that a Bristlenose pleco isn't a good cleaner, because they are!

kevin
 

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My rhino keeps the glass spotless
 

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The fishkeeper scrapes the glass. Only takes a few minutes a week.

My BN and other clean up crew get the worst of it off. But there is always a little left for me, and that little edge just under the surface of the substrate.
 

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I know that this fish is not really an algae eater, but I love mine and would recommend synodontis multipunctatus. It is a really cool catfish from lake tanganyika and does really well with african cichlids. I only really see mine when I feed the africans, but boy he does not leave any uneaten food in the tank. As soon as I go to feed, he is zooming around the bottom looking for food and he will not hesitate to push my electric yellows out of the way to grab some food. Maybe not exactly what you are looking for but it is a really cool catfish that fits well in any african cichlid setup. I thought about posting a picture but it is late, maybe I will post one later if you are interested, but here is a link.
 
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*** got plecos and chinese algae eaters... and from what im told... rainbow sharks eat alot of algae... or just get yourself a uv sterilization light if you really dont want any algae... i dontt hink they'd last at all in a cichlid tank but i have a dojo loach, coreys, and mystery snails in my goldfish tank and seriously that tank is pristine... they eat all the algae and all the uneaten food... people say goldfish are dirtier than all other fish and i have like 12 goldfish medium sized in a 30 gallon and that tank is the cleanest out of all my tanks.. oh and a gara ping ping in there too they eat algae also...
 

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The best way to avoid algae is to keep the water clean. Algae feeds on the nitrate and other waste chemicals the fish introduce into the water. Also, avoid sunlight and too-strong artificial light.

Plecos are great, but I suggest routine water changes and not setting up your tank by a window.
 

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someone suggested Nerite zebra snails to me so I picked up a couple to check them out. They do a pretty good job and my BN and Rhino plecos do a great job as well.
 

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Do you have plants? Nothing keeps glass spotless like a day or two of darkness!

I do 75% water changes weekly, but unfortunately I have about 10ppm nitrates out of the tap, and no plants, so algae is inevitable. But, once in a while, I shut the lights off for a couple of days and it's all gone. Otherwise, I scrape it, combination of a magnetic scraper (awesome tool, you should get one), and a credit card. Stirring the substrate keeps the algae off of that, and beyond that it's the rocks and the back wall that get bad every once in a while. When that happens, again, a blackout session. I do it once every couple of months. Gives the tank a "lived in" look without a "Do you ever clean this?" look.

-John
 

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You have 100 ppm out of the tap? Holy cow. Treat that stuff with 'Prime' (by Seachem) before you do a water change. That stuff is practically liquid fertilizer. 5ppm in my 125 grows my anacharis about 6 feet a week.
 

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Kerricko said:
someone suggested Nerite zebra snails to me so I picked up a couple to check them out. They do a pretty good job and my BN and Rhino plecos do a great job as well.
I got 3 Zebra snails last year, and they looked cool. All they did was make cool rounded zigzag lines all over the glass, missing 95% of the algae. It was artistic but hardly clean. Then they died after 3 months. Obviously they didn't like the tank, but there was plenty of algae for them.

Gibbiceps Plecos do a great job of cleaning, they do what you want quickly, and are hardy but if they do well they get too big. The pond born ones unfortunately don't look as good as wild caught. Only $3 at Petsmart thou, sold as High Fin I think.
 

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noki said:
I got 3 Zebra snails last year, and they looked cool. All they did was make cool rounded zigzag lines all over the glass, missing 95% of the algae. It was artistic but hardly clean. Then they died after 3 months.
:lol:

I had a similar experience with my zebra nerites regarding the cool lines. Mine got a larger percentage of the algae and lasted a year or more in my peacock tanks. But much less time in the mbuna tanks and somewhat less in the Tang tanks. Prov has great luck with them.
 

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Bristlenose Plecos do a nice job of cleaning algae off the glass and rocks but you'll still need to clean it yourself.
 

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I've yet to figure a way to use a single edge razor blade to clean rocks and plants, but it works good on glass. And if you don't feed for about 12 hours (assuming herbivorous Mbuna), your fish will eagerly eat the scrapings. (Or the hairs on your arm, depends how hungry they are)
 

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The Novice said:
And if you don't feed for about 12 hours (assuming herbivorous Mbuna), your fish will eagerly eat the scrapings. (Or the hairs on your arm, depends how hungry they are)
A little off-topic, but it's a good practice to go longer than 12 hours before feedings on a regular schedule with herbivorous mbuna; their guts are very long and a little fasting can help keep them relatively clear.

Feeding African Cichlids

kevin
 

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Thanks, Ridley25! Maybe you should do an article on feeding herbivores.

No kidding. I sorta figured that they're like cows, always grazing! So I feed sparingly 3 times a day. So the fish (fortunately) live, and we learn.

My thanks!

I really AM a Novice!
 
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