Hi everyone :),
in a few weeks or so, I plan on breeding my bettas. I am looking for a fish that would be best to put with the fry to aid me in keeping the tank clean. Originally, my plan was to use an apple snail. After much research, I discovered that they breed like crazy. I'm already going to have a ton of betta fry to look after, the last thing I need is a never ending snail population. I moved on to pleckos, apparently they are messy and some people believed that they would harm the fry. Supposedly they poop a lot...and ultimately hurt more than they help. Then I started looking at ottos hoping I would get a better review. From what I read, they need it bit more of a current whereas the betta prefer their water to be a bit on the calmer side. They also seem to prefer a cooler temperature whereas my fry need to be kept in warmer conditions. Finally i looked at corys. They apparently need to be in very large groups, are sensitive and don't clean quite as well. So far, they seem to be my only somewhat reasonable option. I don't know how many I can house but I don't want them to be miserable either. I also want to be sure that they wont get seriously picked on. My tank is a 20 gallon long breeder (which is why i cant house too many...) and the fry will be getting live food. Also, do the catfish (all of the above) need to receive their own particular food as well? Supposedly Cory's are air breathers too so Im assuming they could reach the surface rather than using sinking food...? I added a poll for fun ;) and also for those who may not want to post.
i don't know much about breeding, but my research into cories says they're omnivores (meat and vegetation) so they might go after the fry for food? and as far as i know they need food to supplement what they clean up.
i dont know much about your other options either, but i hear Nerite snails cannot breed under water. maybe they could be an option?
My fry are 2 weeks old and doing perfectly fine without any other fish but their father. I have a couple of really small pond snails, and a few marimo balls (I removed the anubias a few days ago). I just use an eyedropper and airline hose for spot cleaning and use a drip method for water change. I've read of people adding in a bristlenose plec or ottos but I personally wouldn't do so.
I'd just clean manually and not risk adding in other fish.
Since I use a natural spawning method in 5-10gal full to the top with water-soil substrate and very heavy planted....mine always have both Red cherry shrimp and common snails, however, when I spawned using the standard method-bare bottom-I always kept common snails-both ramshorn and pond snails-the byproduct from the snails are safer than the byproduct of decaying fry and food...plus if the snail had been fed the right diet you get the added benefit of the microorganism/infusoria they produce for free range fry food....
Both the ramshorn and pond snails reproduce really fast and can get out of control if not kept in check with weekly removal with your water changes-they will reproduce even faster in tanks that are overfed too.....
You also have a live bearing snail-called trumpet snails that can reproduce really fast as well
Keeping snail population in check is just part of the regular tank care you already provide....