5 Best Aquarium Algae Eater Fish

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edited September 3 in Advice Tutorials

5 Best Tank Algae Eater Fish:

Algae is a non-flowering plant & it grows unwantedly in water in the presence of light. Presence of algae is not bad & in fact hobbyists like to have them because they provide a beautiful look to aquarium. However, too much algae is bad for fish tank. Also they block the view of fancy aquarium & a lot of people don’t like them when they grow beyond limit. Various techniques are used to keep algae in control & we have mentioned 5 tips & tricks in this article that can help you maintain unwanted growth of algae in tank.


Reduce Lights:

Lights left on for longer period of time can help in increasing growth of algae in aquarium. Make sure you use timer that turn off lights for at least 12 hours a day to reduce algae growth.

Do not put your aquarium in a location where direct sun light can hit water. In the presence of sunlight, algae grows substantially faster.


Do not overfeed fish:

Do not overfeed aquarium inhabitants because leftover food can help increase growth of algae in tanks. Feed what fish can consume in 5 minutes & remove leftover food from aquarium using fish net.


Water Maintenance:

Make sure you regularly change water every week. Do a 15 to 50 percent water change to reduce growth of algae in aquarium. Vacumm gravel your aquarium when changing water.


Add Live Plants:

Avoid adding too much nutrients to water because it can boost growth of algae. Add live plants to aquarium which absorbs those nutrients.

Add Algae Eater Fish:

Keeping algae eating fish in aquarium is very important because it eats algae & balance the natural ecosystem. They can eat algae & gives a clean look to your aquarium. Instead of adding chemicals to aquarium we suggest you to add few algae eating fish to your aquarium that can do the job very well.


1. Bristlenose Plecos (Bristlenose Plecostomus):

Bristlenose Plecos is a nice addition to most of the fish tanks. They look weird but do their job of eating algae very well. They can grow up to 4 inches, & a medium sized fish tank is enough for keeping them. Bristlenose Plecos are the best replacement for Sucker Fish that grows up to 2 feet. Bristlenose Plecos have the skill to clean aquarium algae despite their small size. Males of Bristlenose Plecos develop large whiskery growths on their faces.

Bristlenose Plecos
Bristlenose Plecos
Image Credit: flickr.com


Bristlenose Plecos have different colors too, such as gold or albino. This is a great addition to your fish tank. It is suggested to add a driftwood & hiding places in your aquarium for keeping this fish happy.

Other names of Bristlenose Pleco are Bristle Nosed Pleco, Bushynose Catfish & Bristlenose Catfish.

Bristlenose Plecos become darker when they grow up. Also they are available in multiple colors.


Aquarium Size & Conditions for Bristlenose Pleco:

Minimum aquarium size for Bristlenose Plecos is 25 gallons. They need pH between 6.5 to 7.5, & they live well from slightly soft to slightly hard water.


Bristlenose Plecos Care Level:

Bristlenose Plecos does not need high care & they can grow a maximum size of 5 inches.


Bristlenose Plecos Tank Mates:

Bristlenose Plecos can be kept with most of the aquarium fish due to their peaceful nature.


2. Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus Oblongus):

Siamese algae eaters are great fish that can eat algae in your aquarium. They live peacefully in aquarium & can eat different kinds of algae such as Black Beard algae. Due to their capability of eating various types of algae, makes them a great addition to a variety of tanks. Siamese algae eaters are ravenous in nature.

Siamese Algae Eater
Siamese Algae Eater
Image Credit: flickr.com


Siamese algae eaters not only feed on different kinds of algae, but can also control flatworm populations & can eat debris in tank. Siamese algae eaters are also a great addition to planted tanks because they do not hurt plants.

Siamese Algae Eaters like to live in planted tanks with lots of broad leaved plants that offer resting place for the fish. It is not a fussy eater; they would like to eat algae growing on plant leaves & would love to eat a mix of protein & vegetable based diet.


Aquarium Size & Conditions for Siamese Algae Eater:

Minimum aquarium size for Siamese Algae Eater is 30 gallons. They need pH between 6.5 to 7. Ideal temperature for Siamese Algae Eater is 75 to 79 degree Fahrenheit.


Siamese Algae Eater Care Level:

Siamese Algae Eater needs moderate care level. They grow up to 6 inches in size.


Siamese Algae Eater Tank Mates:

Siamese Algae Eater is suitable for community tanks, & can be kept with a range of fish such as tetras, barbs, plecos, corydoras & more.


3. Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilos Aymonieri):

Chinese algae eaters are not the top algae eaters but can do that other algae eaters can’t. Do not keep them in community aquariums because of their aggressive nature. The older they grow, the more aggressive they become. However, their aggressive nature give benefit to some aquarists. They can grow up to 10 inches in size & due to their large size & agility, they are among the few algae eating fish that can endure with large semi aggressive inhabitants.

Chinese Algae Eater
Chinese Algae Eater


They are not amongst the best algae eaters because they become lazy in eating as they grow up, but when they are young, they eat variety of algae types.


Chinese Algae Eaters Care Level:

They like to live in clean water with pH level from 6.8 to 7.4 with a KH level from 8 to 10. They like to live in warm water & need herbivorous diet to help them eat more algae.


Aquarium Size & Conditions for Chinese Algae Eaters:

Chinese Algae Eaters do not need high care & can do great in aquariums that contain at least 30 gallons of clean water.


Chinese Algae Eaters Tank Mates:

Chinese Algae Eaters grow up to 10 inches & can be aggressive as they grow up. So they can hurt delicate fish if you put them in community tank with mates. But their aggressive nature makes them an ideal choice for aquarists who want to keep them with large & semi aggressive fish such as cichlids.


4. Twig Catfish (Rineloricaria Lanceolate):

Twig Catfish are long, have thin bodies & can grow as long as 4 inches.

Twig Catfish were fairly common once, but they are available in many fish stores now because of their high demand. Many aquarists are knowing about their advantages & their demand in increasing.

Twig Catfish needs more specialized care than other types of algae eating fish. They need places to hide in aquariums because they are shy fish.

Twig Catfish
Twig Catfish
Image Credit: flickr.com


They are one of the top catfish algae eaters. They like to eat various types of diet & can quickly clean your aquarium of any green algae. They need most care as compared to other algae eater fish discussed in this post.


Twig Catfish Care Level:

Care level for Twig catfish is from easy to intermediate.


Aquarium Size & conditions for Twig Catfish:

Twig Catfish can do great when kept in aquarium in pairs & can do well in a tank size of at least 12 gallons.

They love to live in moderately soft water having a pH from 6 to 8. They do not like changes in chemistry of water & they eat most of algae types but also need supplement diet.


Twig Catfish Tank Mates:

They are docile in nature & can be kept in community with other peaceful fish including tetras & livebearers, though they can’t do well in tank of cichlids & other aggressive larger mates.


5. Otocinclus Catfish (Otocinclus Sp.):

Otocinclus Catfish are among the top algae eating fish. Otocinclus Catfish are the smallest algae eating fish mentioned in this post. They can grow only up to 2 inches. Their small size & very calm behavior makes this specie perfect choice for most of community aquariums. They can do well in communities in planted tanks.

Otocinclus Catfish
Otocinclus Catfish


Otocinclus Catfish do not damage plants & can do a great job at eating brown algae & fresh algae growing in the aquarium before they find an opportunity to spread in the aquarium.

Otocinclus Catfish are one of the best algae eater & suitable for smaller tanks. Keep this fish in small communities. Otocinclus Catfish can grow up to 2 inches.


Otocinclus Catfish Care Level:

Otocinclus Catfish need medium care level.


Aquarium Size & Conditions for Otocinclus Catfish:

Aquarium size for Otocinclus Catfish is about 30 gallons. They need pH level from 6.5 to 7.5. Your aquarium should have driftwood & abundance of leaf litter.


Otocinclus Catfish Tank Mates:

Otocinclus Catfish lives peacefully in community aquarium. Do not keep them with large aggressive species such as large cichlids.
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