Algae is the worst thing one can imagine spreading in their aquarium. It is not necessarily a bad thing that can grow in your aquarium, but it gives a poor and gloomy look to your aquarium. A good deal of factors contributes to the growth of algae. Factors such as light and imbalanced levels of nutrients can lead to the spread of algae.
But like any other unwanted substance in an aquarium, it is controllable. Algae-eating fishes are the first thing that comes to an aquarist’s mind when choosing to control algae growth. These fishes will proudly lend you a hand in taking over this unwanted substance’s spread. They help keep the ecosystem regulated and is probably the best way to control algae growth.
In this article, you will find the best algae eaters that you can add up to your cleaning-up party.
But before adding any one of these algae eaters, you must consider the water conditions that they require and also the companions that they are compatible with.
1. Siamese Algae Eater
The Siamese Algae Eater will survive in your aquarium with the motive of keeping your tank crystal clear and free of algae. They cut off a lot of work for you as they can consume a wide variety of algae. Most importantly, it can feed on algae to which other algae eaters don’t even give a glance. They’re free of the aggressive gene, so they will not wreak havoc in your aquarium. It will spend most of its time clearing the tank of algae.
This algae eater is a great add-on to your aquarium as it cleans up your tank and is not an eyesore. This algae eater has a neat body with bright colors. Its body is bright brown and has a black stripe running along its body. For it to have an ideal life, it requires a temperature around 24℃ to 26℃ and a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 8.0. This algae eater tends to dwell around the bottom of the tank and is a quick swimmer.
2. Bristlenose Pleco
Undeniably not a fish to be gazed upon continuously, although they are catchy. Getting its name from the projections that resemble whiskers, this is an effective cleaner for your tank and is a bottom dweller. They are peaceful and get along with other fishes quite well. They come in a variety of colors and usually has white spots on their body.
These Plecos will munch on algae almost all the time and probably always has algae on their mind. Growing up to a maximum size of 5 inches, they will require tanks of size 30 gallons. In terms of temperature and the pH level, they thrive on temperatures ranging between 23℃ to 27℃ and a pH level of 5.8 to 7.8. They don’t need a high level of maintenance but don’t forget to feed them pellets and wafers as just algae are not enough for them to survive.
3. Chinese Algae Eater
A pretty large algae eater on this list and a semi-aggressive one as well. These algae eaters can grow to a maximum of 10 inches if you have availed them of a large tank. In terms of appearance, they resemble the Siamese Algae Eater a lot, which confuses even the best of the aquarists. Similar to other algae eaters, it is always on the lookout for algae and will feed on it upon every chance it gets.
As you already know, Chinese Algae Eaters can grow up to become quite large, so the minimum tank size required for them is 30 gallons. When it comes to temperature, they prefer a temperature between 23℃ to 26℃. The pH level that they need is 6.0 to 8.0. As they grow older, their aggressiveness grows as well. Therefore, be mindful when choosing its tankmates. This aggressiveness will come in handy as they can defend themselves and not just hide in a corner. However, keeping two Chinese Algae Eaters on the same tank is never a good idea.
The Otociclus performs its job of cleaning the tank effectively. They will eat up algae quickly and does an excellent job in preventing its spread. They thrive in a large tank as they will get plenty of algae to feed on and find comfort in the community. Now on to its appearance, it is the miniature version of the Chinese Algae Eater. The only difference remaining is the size for this species can only grow up to 2 inches and doesn’t have a hint of aggressiveness.
As mentioned before, they feed continuously on algae, so they require a large tank even though they are of a small size. The tank conditions which they need for an undisturbed life are a temperature ranging between 22℃ to 28℃ and a pH level of 6 to 7.5. Even though they constantly ravage algae, it doesn’t hurt to feed them flakes and pellets once in a while. These will provide them with the essential nutrients.
5. Twig Catfish
This algae-eating fish gets its name from its body. It has a long and thin body and can reach up to lengths of 4 inches. They also require extensive care as they are sensitive to any changes in the aquarium conditions. These catfish are not aggressive, although they are scaredy cats. If you have one or plan on keeping one, you must provide them with hiding spots. Their diet primarily comprises algae. It will effortlessly eat algae and can eat algae on any surface, whether the glass or plant or the decor.
Twig Catfish are extremely sensitive when it comes to the conditions of the tank. A minor change in the conditions of the water will create difficulties for them to survive. It requires a water temperature of 22℃ to 26℃ and a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5.
If you’re thinking of keeping a Twig Catfish then you should keep it in a pair. They can survive effectively when kept in a set. A 40 gallons tank size is enough for two Twig catfish.
6. Rubber Lip Pleco
The bottom dweller algae eater Rubber Lip Pleco is an ideal addition to your tank. It will effortlessly clean up algae from your tank as it loves eating them. They are peaceful and will not disturb other fishes and its do their job of eating algae. It has a large mouth and usually has a grey-colored body with spots on its face. The maximum size that it can reach is 7 inches.
These plecos are not high maintenance and serve well as beginner fish. First of all, they are peaceful. The minimum tank size required for them is 25 gallons. But the bigger the tank the better it is. As for water conditions, this pleco will thrive on water temperatures between 22℃ to 26℃ and a pH level of 6.5 to 8. They will mostly eat algae for their entire life, although you have to provide them with nutrients.
7. Whiptail catfish
The Whiptail Catfish gets its name from the lower part of its body which resembles a tail-like extension. This is a peaceful fish and doesn’t hurt its tankmates but it can scare them. Although they tend to be a bit territorial, they adapt well on a community tank. They have a tail-like extension with brown color with dark and light patterns. It can grow up to a size of 6 inches.
They are hardy fish and you don’t have to put in too much effort to take care of them. In the aquarium, they require water temperatures between 25℃ to 28℃ and a pH level of 6 to 7.5. Its eating habits are omnivorous. Primarily they will eat algae but feed them proteins and flakes and pellets from time to time.
8. Flag Fish
The vibrant and beautiful Flagfish is surprisingly an algae eater. It gets its name from the vibrant colors the males possess that resembles the American flag. They are peaceful fish that eat a wide variety of algae. They grow to a maximum size of 2.4 inches and have rounded fins.
Taking care of this fish is not a hard task. They require a tank with a size of 10 gallons. The water temperatures the Flagfish requires range between 17℃ to 22℃ and a pH level of 6.2 to 8.2. Maintain these water conditions for your flags to live without any troubles. They are omnivores, and they eat algae mostly as it is available in the tank. You can feed them flakes, pellets, and live food.
9. Sailfin Pleco
The biggest algae eater on the list is the Sailfin Pleco. It can reach a maximum of 19 inches. It primarily eats algae and prefers it the most. It has an intimidating appearance with light patterns on a dark body. As its size can reach up to massive lengths the tank size recommended is 100 gallons.
They are not fussy about the levels of water temperatures, although that doesn’t mean they can withstand extreme levels. The pH levels are required for the range between 6.5 and 8.0.
10. Red Garra
This fish goes by many names like doctor fish or nibble fish. Red Garra can grow to a maximum length of 5.5 inches with a black-colored body. You might have even seen them nibbling on the dead skin of humans. They love to eat algae and will start munching on it whenever it gets the chance. If you have one in your aquarium, you’ll see it constantly nibbling on algae.
As they are usually in a group, the minimum tank size required is 30 gallons. They prefer colder water temperatures ranging between 13℃ to 20℃. They will primarily eat algae, although you can also provide them pellets, flakes, and frozen food.
The fishes mentioned in the list are the best algae eaters in the world of aquariums. Getting rid of algae from an aquarium is what every aquarist wishes. Although it is a part of nature and nothing can stop its growth. However, it is controllable, and algae-eating fishes are the best option. These fishes do their job ever so effortlessly and are the most natural way of getting rid of algae from your aquarium. So, if algae are starting to spread in your aquarium, consider getting an algae eater.