The algea eater is a baby right now, but it can get up to about 6" long, as big as Fishi herself and the ghost shrimps will stay small, about 1" long. The algea eater is not the best looking critter and it will definitely grow up to be even uglier (sorry algea eater...it's the truth), but as long as it does it's job, I'll be happy.
The shrimp are really hard to find in the tank as they are translucent and blend in with the rocks, and they have been hiding in the corners of the tank and amongst the leaves of the plants. Their main role is to clean up the uneaten food that fish don't eat. They don't have a very long lifespan, 2 years at the most, but I hope I don't kill them before that.
I was worried fishi would have a heart attack with these little guys there, and at first she did, she started to flip out (literally) and swim crazily back and forth while they were floating in their bags in the tank, and it took me a few minutes to calm her down, but eventually she did. I was also worried she would try to eat them...I didn't think she would, she's really gentle, but you never know.
A few days ago however, I couldn't find the algea eater anywhere. I looked in every corner of the tank and it was no where to be found. I pulled the plants back and nothing, looked in the filter...nothing, and finally I realized she must have eaten it. I started to ask her if she had eaten it and where it was thinking there would be pieces of it if she had eaten it and most likely she would have been injured...I mean, it's a really bony fish and not very tasty (so I'm told). After a few minutes of accusations, she started to get really annoyed with me (does this turning her back on me thing in the corner where I am) and finally she moved towards where the statue was and started to circle around it, moving back and forth between the corner where I was and back around the statue and it started to slowly dawn on me she was trying to say something, so I got my arm into the tank and lifted the statue to find the algea eater inside. Oh THANK GOD! Fishi ignored me the rest of the day, lesson learned...don't accuse your goldfish of eating its aquarium mates.
Four days later, they are all alive and well and Fishi doesn't seem to be bothered by them. They leave her alone and she leaves them alone. All is well in Fishi's world.
I'm considering another fish...maybe another goldfish or some other fish that will stay small. We'll see.
Bristlenose Algea Eater