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Best Algae Eater in a 3g Betta Tank?

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Your challenge with a tank this small is going to be to create enough surface area to sustain a beneficial bacteria colony that can help break down waste and keep algae at bay.  Can you give some details about the type of tank, substrate, plants, etc?  I thing I have some common learnings I can share.

To answer your question,  a Nerite snail is probably your best contender for keeping flat surfaces clean.  Zebras and black racers have had bigger appetites in my tanks than Tigers and Horned varieties.   Amano shrimp do a good job keeping the substrate and "not flat not smooth" decor clean.  Some Betta's will kill shrimp,  so I often get a single "feeder" ghost shrimp from my LFS (which are usually something like $.50 USD) and see if it's going to be "food or friend" before springing for more expensive shrimp.


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I like what I see...this is obviously not your first rodeo:

* The pelletized (Fluval?) substrate gives a lot of surface area for beneficial bacteria.  Personally I won't use anything but this in a nano tank,  so great choice here.  I have a colony of Melanoides Granifera trumpet snails in every one of my 3 gallons and they do a great job at turning this substrate and keeping mulm and "muck" from building up in the top 3/4" or so.

* Wood features seem to help small tank biomes a lot- so another great choice here.   The wood looks like it might have already been sanded - one pro tip I like for wood and Bettas is "the panty hose test".  If you haven't done this- dragging a piece of pantyhose (or any snag prone fabric) all over the wood is a good way to detect anything that may catch and cut fins.

* Anubis and Java fern are good water column feeders. Buce is another one of my favorites.   I've found that in my water, Java fern always grows to a point and then it's leaves become a "hairy mess" of root shoots that looks terrible,  so that might not be a "forever plant".  

* I've found that having a mix of root and water column feeders in a small tank really helps,  so you might want to consider a root feeder for the background (I like Amazon sword as Bettas can easily lay on the thick leaves and sleep) and a root feeder for the fore or mid ground (I like Cryptocorynes - there's varieties that will grow compact and flat to the substrate that help with limited space).

* Think about maybe adding floating plants like frog bit which does a good job of absorbing Nitrates if they get too high.  Duckweed can completely cover a 3 gallon in a day or two,  so I would recommend avoiding that.

* I can't see your filter,  but adding all the bio ring material you can is a good thing.  My Fluval Specs have a foam filter block with space for two sets of bio rings and a chamber below where a 3rd fits,  so I fill them all.  Also gives me a set that I can pull and put in a hospital tank if needed without upending the biome of the "donor" tank.

* In small tanks, pests aren't bad.  My healthiest 3 gallon has freshwater limpets, ostreaccods, and Rhabdocoela flat worms.  A  little unsightly at times,  but I've gotten to points where breeding has gotten out of hand and I've found myself with a Betta, a dozen Neo shrimp, three little horned Nerites, and probably 10 trumpet snails all in the tank at the same time and the Biome processed the waste like a champ (but boy,  did the filter sponge get dirty).  Pretty sure we broke the fire code on that level of occupancy- we're back to a reasonable stocking level now.  Which reminds me- for snails you may want to consider something  like multiple little horned Nerites (which tend to not grow much larger than a pea vs one larger Nerite.  Multiple Nerites do run the risk of egg laying though,  and the eggs can be difficult to remove. 

Love to see updates on how this tank progresses and hope my comments help.



Edited by NanoNano
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@NanoNanoreally appreciate your response here. 

A few comments:

1. not new to aquariums but new to betta’s. No rough edges I can discern on my mini-tree stump so hopefully that works but the sword idea makes sense so I might add that once things settle. 

We’ve been trying to simplify our aquarium life so I’ve gone from many tanks to 3, with one being my daughters betta tank. It has bio media in the foams vacant spaces. 

2. I’ve done nerites before, and as such can tell you exactly which dremel tip is the best for removing eggs. 😎

I know the identification of males is the small hood on the left antennae but I have yet to spot one in the LFS. 

3. I can grab floating plants from other tanks, so I’ll do that today.  


thanks so much!


Edited by Saltinthedesert
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Amano shrimp get pretty big and might not get picked on. 
At the Aquarium Coop store they have a little 3g tank that’s heavily planted and stocked with a Betta, Shrimp and some small fish (maybe fry). It always looks spectacular and the livestock seem to get along great. 



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