Algae is the bane of most freshwater aquarium keepers. We've all had it at some point and many of us continue to struggle with one for or another for long periods of time. No doubt algae has been the reason some have gotten out of the hobby entirely. In my case, I've had to deal with hair algae, staghorn algae, and black beard algae.
I've had success controlling staghorn algae with Seachem's Excel, but I'd rather not have to use such chemicals all of the time. I've been able to knock out hair algae using API's Algaefix, which is harmful to shrimp so not a perfect solution. As for black beard algae, I've found nothing more effective than hydrogen peroxide, but I've never been able to eliminate it entirely and who wants to do treatments every day?
Enter the freshwater scud. These little guys sit at the bottom of the food chain and eat decaying plant matter, left over fish food, and algae. In fact, some testing suggests that if given a healthy plant with algae, they will eat the algae and ignore the leaf. Need proof? Take a look at this before and after shot of an anubias leaf I left in a container of 50 or so scuds for 24+ hours.
Some other things I've tested:
These are things I've read about scuds that I haven't yet verified for myself.
My hope is that I can introduce these scuds directly to my planted aquariums. However, I'm trying to find answers to the following first: