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algae eating fish

Oto Dwarf Suckermount catfish will feed on the algae without causing harm to plants.

For those who have aquariums in the home or office, you might have noticed some green, black, or brown spots growing in your aquarium.  They can become quite unsightly and you may have been wondering how to get rid of all those lumps of vegetation and spots. These are the plants, known as algae. Algae eaters are the answer!

Why is algae damaging to your fish and aquarium plants?

  • When algae is allowed to dominate the aquarium they use up all the carbon dioxide in the water and use the nutrients to grow.
  • They cause nitrates and phosphates to build up in the aquarium which are harmful to the plants and fish.
  • The algae grows extremely fast detracting from the clarity of the aquarium.
  • They deny the useful plants the nutrients they need to survive.

Why buy algae eaters?

Algae eaters are an add-on for every aquarium. They ensure that algae does not survive in the water by eating it.

There are three main types of algae eaters and they include:

  • Shrimps
  • Snails
  • Algae Eating Fish

There are various types of fish you can introduce into your aquarium, but you first need to consider the size of your aquarium. Some algae eating fish cannot survive in too much water and so you need to know which type of fish suits the given amount of water capacity.

Siamese algae eaters are among your best options. They grow up to five inches and are suitable to add to water tanks of about 20 gallons capacity. They fit in to most aquariums and feed on all algae without causing any damage to your plants. This species has a healthy appetite and they are also not crabby eaters. They feed on everything they come across.  From the top to the bottom of your aquarium, they keep it nice and tidy.

Oto catfish are another good option. Unlike other fish they do not grow too big. They grow up to a maximum of two inches and they remain slim. This makes them ideal for aquariums because they do not cause problems for your aquarium filters. They generally need to be kept in groups of three and they will happily feed on the algae without causing harm to plants.

The best snail species you should buy is the Netrite snails. This snail clears out all the algae while causing no harm to your plants.

When choosing shrimp, Cherry Shrimps or Amano Shrimps are the best options. The advantage of these algae eaters is that they do not uproot or damage your aquarium plants. While cleaning the plants they ensure that they remain intact. They only eat the algae.

The video below shows a Spiral Horn Nerite Snail.  There is no music or narration, but watching the little snail eating until his heart is content…priceless!

This species, however, is very delicate. They need to be introduced into an already established aquarium with fully cycled water. Once they are settled, they are an easy type of fish to keep. They can also be fed pellet food to supplement their diet and to ensure that they perform effectively.

By controlling algae in your aquarium, you will ensure that your fish and plants will have a healthy living environment.

In general, the purpose of algae eaters is to

  • clean up aquariums.
  • ensure that water circulation in the aquarium is on point.
  • ensure that enough light gets to the aquarium.
  • ensure that there are enough nutrients for the fish and plants alike.

A welcome addition to your fish tank.