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Keeping an algae crew in a bala tank

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Trying to keep a good algae clean up crew in my planted 125 bala tank. I currently have 10 otos, and I have 2 hillstream loaches on the way. My main problems are the fact that I have really hard water with lots of phosphates so it’s nearly impossible to keep the algae at bay even with lots of co2. The otos only eat certain algae and the balas eat all the pond snails. If I get big enough snails like mystery snails for instance will the balas try to eat them? Also same question with Amano shrimp, will they get big enough the balas won’t eat them? My balas currently are pretty young, they range in size from 4” to 1.5”

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What types of algae do you have? From the algaes eaters you have now, a bristlenose pleco and some siamese algae eaters or florida flag fish would take care of hair algaes if you have those.


How long has this aquarium been setup?  Keep in mind that even challenging water conditions out of the tap are "fixable" by letting nature do it's thing and consume them. Then minimizing the water changes needed dueto evaporation or build up of something not being exported by plants.

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Tank has been set up for 3 months now. Been doing weekly water changes sometimes I waited 2 weeks to see were the nitrates would get to, usually get just above the 25 ppm on the test strip. 

Small amount of staghorn, mostly on the anubias leaves. Very small amount of bba on some of my dwarf sag. On the glass I’ve been getting lots of green spot algae on the side that’s heavily planted and down low ( my glass Lilly pipes inflow only went down about halfway so I was thinking lack of water flow may have been causing some of the issues so I put a power head with a sponge filter down low.) and the most prolific algae in the tank that the otos don’t go anywhere near is a really fast growing short haired white algae. All over the dwarf sag and 100% of the glass if I don’t clean it for a week.

I do have some SEA in another tank, but was unsure about putting them in this tank with the Pygmy cories due to how aggressive they seemed. I had a common pleco in the tank for a bit but took him out after he solved the huge diatom algae problem after the tank finished cycling. He was digging way too much and pulling a lot of the new plants out. Will a bristlenose do the same? The flag fish sounds interesting I’ll look into that.

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