Nerites and Algae? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Nerites and Algae?

So I've come to have a bit of a green algae problem in Echo's tank. I scrape a little up and out every time I do the little water changes, but I'm getting fed up with it. I'm worried the algae will harm the plants. Is that possible??

My thought was that I would get 1 Nerite snail for Echo's and 1 for Chronos' as a preventative measure. The shrimp do pick at the algae, but the 5 of them just aren't getting the job done.

What are people's experiences with Nerites? Are they good with algae? Any downside to them? Would 1 be enough for a 5 gallon tank?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:09 PM
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I'm glad you are considering a nerite! I have not regretted getting Milly. I origninally bought 2 (one for each side of the tank) but Gammon died :(. Milly's job has since been the whole tank. All she eats is algae (does not care about algae wafers or blanched veggies) so I stopped scraping ALL the algae off (I leave her the back of the tank and the divider). She crosses the divider all the time, I heard they can climb out of tanks and survive with their trap but fortunately I have never experienced this.

Nerites have such unique shell spots and a low bioload. They move slow and keep their antennae under their shells so this helps protect them from pecking fish.

They LOVE algae, I don't feed anything else. And they make cool tracks on the glass. I stopped trying to pick her up during water changes because they STICK to glass like its the end of the world. They have such suction strength! And I'm afraid to hurt her so I let her be. With the shrimp and live plants I only add conditioned water to the tank anyway.

Nerites come in a variety of colors and some even have spikes now!

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:13 PM
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Nerites are fairly good algae eaters, but they will leave eggs everywhere. The eggs won't hatch, but they are an eyesore and very difficult to remove.

The better question is where your algae is coming from. Some algae is expected and is healthy for the tank. Unless it's a problem type of algae, or all over the tank viewing side, it could probably be left.

If it's on the tank side but is otherwise not a problem, simply cleaning the inside of the tank glass will take care of the problem for you.

A better option for algae control is to make sure you are not lighting too highly too often, and to increase the number of plants in the tank. The algae is a sign that you have too much light (lights on too long) and/or too many nutrients in the tank that aren't being used. Fast-growing stem plants or an abundance of slow-growing plants will out-compete algae for nutrients and it will clear up on its own.

You also might not be fertilizing enough. Plants will only use resources as they are available in balance. Algae needs different resources.

At any light level, your plants use a certain amount of macro and micro nutrients. If you are not fertilizing to add these nutrients, your plants will use what is available in balance - they will use so much of the "macro" nutrients, which causes them to need so much of the "micro" nutrients. If your nutrients are not in balance, some of one or the other will be left over. That's when algae shows up, using ANY nutrient available (different types of algae will use different nutrients) to take up the slack.

The best way to get rid of algae is to do one of two things:

1. Decrease light
2. Increase fertilization AND/OR the number of plants to out-compete the algae and bring balance

All that said ... what is your lighting schedule? Tank parameters? Types of plants? Can you post a photo?

I realize my answer is long and might be confusing (it is overly simplified and sometimes that's actually more confusing), but another tank inhabitant is another tick up on the bioload (more nutrients being added through waste), and another mouth to feed. After all, what if you run out of algae? What if the algae is not a type the snail likes? Then you'll just have another mouth to feed and mess to clean up!

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:15 PM
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nerite will destroy your algae..

ps.. they need brackish water to breed..
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 02:21 PM
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Nerites also need a male/female to reproduce. I just have the 1 and have never seen eggs. Even when Gammon was there neither laid eggs (Milly is probably a male lol)

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 03:18 PM
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The eggs are hit and miss, out of 5 tanks w/nerites only 2 have eggs and only one has a lot. Thanks to my nerites algae is non-existant in my tanks. You might have to supplement their diet with veggies or algae wafers after they clean the tank. I actually try to grow algae so they can clean it up.

I also tried to breed them last winter but nothing happened. I plan to try again, maybe I had 2 males together?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 03:20 PM
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Sorry, I guess I should have specified ... if you get a FEMALE nerite (and I have no clue how to tell the difference) you will have eggs all over the place.

They can only breed in salt (brackish?) water.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekkguy View Post
Nerites are fairly good algae eaters, but they will leave eggs everywhere. The eggs won't hatch, but they are an eyesore and very difficult to remove.

The better question is where your algae is coming from. Some algae is expected and is healthy for the tank. Unless it's a problem type of algae, or all over the tank viewing side, it could probably be left.

If it's on the tank side but is otherwise not a problem, simply cleaning the inside of the tank glass will take care of the problem for you.

A better option for algae control is to make sure you are not lighting too highly too often, and to increase the number of plants in the tank. The algae is a sign that you have too much light (lights on too long) and/or too many nutrients in the tank that aren't being used. Fast-growing stem plants or an abundance of slow-growing plants will out-compete algae for nutrients and it will clear up on its own.

You also might not be fertilizing enough. Plants will only use resources as they are available in balance. Algae needs different resources.

At any light level, your plants use a certain amount of macro and micro nutrients. If you are not fertilizing to add these nutrients, your plants will use what is available in balance - they will use so much of the "macro" nutrients, which causes them to need so much of the "micro" nutrients. If your nutrients are not in balance, some of one or the other will be left over. That's when algae shows up, using ANY nutrient available (different types of algae will use different nutrients) to take up the slack.

The best way to get rid of algae is to do one of two things:

1. Decrease light
2. Increase fertilization AND/OR the number of plants to out-compete the algae and bring balance

All that said ... what is your lighting schedule? Tank parameters? Types of plants? Can you post a photo?

I realize my answer is long and might be confusing (it is overly simplified and sometimes that's actually more confusing), but another tank inhabitant is another tick up on the bioload (more nutrients being added through waste), and another mouth to feed. After all, what if you run out of algae? What if the algae is not a type the snail likes? Then you'll just have another mouth to feed and mess to clean up!
Light is on for about 10 hours a day in both tanks. Each tank is 5 gallons with a sponge filter. They are both natural-planted tanks. In Echo's (the one with the algae), I have Dwarf Sattigaria, Anubia, Narrow-leaf Java Fern, a Marimo moss ball, java moss, and two stems of anacharis. The algae is not on the walls of the tank, it is on the fake driftwood. It is bright green. There are 5 Amano shrimp in there with him.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 03:45 PM
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I love my nerites! They are awesome algae eaters. I only had a problem with diatoms before, though. But now I also am developing blue-green algae in my tank. The nerites do eat some of it, but seem to have a hard time. they don't make a clear path through it like they do with the brown algae. you can see their individual teeth/tongue(?) marks spotted throughout the algae. It's much harder to scrape off with my net, too. It's way more tough than the diatoms.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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I did discover a tiny hitchhiker snail. Super super tiny just chilling out on the side of Chronos' tank. He's the only one I've seen. He doesn't look like a Nerite, so I'm not sure what he is. Pond snail maybe? I'll let him be for now as he is too tiny to cause much fuss.
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