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yes teh algae eater and snails will eat food particles. if teh algae eater is provided with plenty of space and hidding areas and is large enough then it should be OK. If you want a clean tank why not just use good maintenance. But bottom dwellers are always a plus :D, why not try a common pleco, many people have success with them :D
 

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I've had succes with the following bottom dwellers:
- common/sailfin/clown pleco's (good for eating algae and food leftovers)
- striped/spotted raphael catfish (pretty safe, because nocturnal, and very efficient in eating leftovers)
- whiptail catfish (mostly algae eater, also eats leftovers from time to time)
- cory catfish (eat leftovers)

Keep in mind that it's not very common to keep some of these fish alive with p's, but mine don't seem to mind their presence.
Just experiment a bit, if you've got some spare cash to spend
 

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This is just my opinion, but I do not like a pleco in my piranha tank. They may very well eat some scraps off the bottom, but they produce so much waste that I feel their contribution to the tank is minnimal to none.

I personally would rather scrape algae every week, than have to gravel vac all the waste from a large pleco. There is a really sneaky one that has survived in my piraya tank by hiding almost constantly, and I can't wait until he makes a mistake and gets eaten.
 

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Go Bucks!
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I have had a Pleco in my P tank since day one and he does clean somethings up. Seems to like shrimp more than anything else. He has been chewed on but he keeps going! Not sure I would get another one, if he happens to meet his demise.
 

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joey'd is da man
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algea eaters? - sucking loaches/ chinese algea eaters?
I wouldn't reccomend putting these with piranhas, if they were to survive, which I doubt, they could cause a problem to your piranhas, some of them have been known to get a taste for the slime on flat fish like angelfish and silver dollers, and I guess also piranhas.
as for plecos, they can work, but also they are sometimes eaten.

*Nothing is reccomended to put with piranhas by any experienced fish keeper.
 
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I've tried cory cats, plecos, and a few other bottom feeders. Had luck with only one pleco and like what was mentions before my pleco also hides constantly. Cory cats last 1 day and other plecos have lasted around one to two weeks tops, then i see have there body laying on the gravel. (they must not taste all that great but then again look at em.
 

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joey'd is da man
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"Oh yeah, I have live plants. Does that mean there will be no algea for them to eat? If so, will they eat leftover peices of food?" - FeederFish33

Plants have no effect on algea, apart from it will grow on the plants.

"I say you know your fish well enough to try it. What is there to lose? They won't hurt your p's" - traumatic

Assuming you are talking about "Gyrinocheilus aymonieri" they could harm your piranhas, they are known for being aggressive when older, and also at any age they can sometimes get a taste for the slime from the sides of flat-sided fish - like silver dollers, anglefish, gouramies and piranhas (if they are not eaten first)

also when larger they tend not to eat algea, especially if other foods are available.
 

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I have a Pleco that has never been nipped by my nasty nine. If you are experimenting, I recommend feeder crayfish. Here in Indy they are $0.79 ea. and do a great job of eating leftovers. I have to by 3 every month or so because when they are carrying around a large chunk of leftovers, it is 2 claws vs. many sharp teeth. I don't mind as long as I get to see it. :D

-Kevin-
 
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