Keeping algae out of your aquarium is a must to activity that takes a bit of time to get it right. Other than using the regular glass scrappers and shaving blades to scratch the algae from the aquarium walls, there is another well-used method.
This method implies using fish, snails or shrimps to take care of the ever-growing algae. Algae is like a treat to them, it also serves as a food source in case of emergency.
Below we make a list of the best fish, snails, and shrimps that you can use to clean your aquarium of algae.
Best Fishes that Eat Algae
1. Siamese Algae Eater
Siamese algae eaters are one of the best foods for algae, as they feed on a range of different kinds of algae. These are also great algae eaters because they are going to eat some of the algae which others like black bear bears don’t know.
This species is also rather quiet and relatively easy to treat, so beginner aquarium aficionados can choose to help control algae in a new tank.
Siamese algae eaters have a tank size not less than 30 gallons and prefer a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 at 75 ° F to 79 ° F temperature.
These fish can be housed in community tanks and can be cared for moderately easily, as long as they have sufficient algae for food. It’s not a bad idea to add algae wafer or pellets to their feeding to ensure they’re not starving.
2. Chinese Algae Eater
Chinese eater for algae is easy to care for and good in tanks with a capacity of at least 30 gallons. However, these fish grow quite large–up to ten inches–and become increasingly aggressive. Therefore, be careful to keep them in a tank of delicate fish species.
Their aggression can be a good thing, on the other hand, they are one of the only algae eaters with large and semi-aggressive animals, like cichlids.
The Chinese foods prefer a pH from 6.8 to 7.4 and a KH from 8 to 10. Their preference is for warmer temperatures, and their feeding on algae requires a herbivore diet.
They are not one of the most effective algae eaters, because they tend to become lazier, but can feed on different types of algae while young. They are not the most effective. You should also hide places such as hollow logs or rock caves for this species.
3. Twig Catfish
These peaches have long, thin bodies and are about 4 centimeters long. Twig waddlers are docile, so that they are compatible with peaceful species such as tetras and livebearers, although cichlids and bigger fish may intimidate them.
While they were once fairly unusual, the more aquarist hobbyists learn of their benefits, the more these fish become increasingly available. These fish are best maintained in pairs and require at least 12 gallons of tank size.
They prefer moderately soft water with a pH from 6.0 to 8.0–changes in water chemistry are not well taken and they feed most types of algae but still need to be fed additionally. The twig catfish is one from the algae eating fish on this list that needs more specialized attention than the others. They also need hiding places in the tank because they are very shy.
4. Otocinclus Catfish
The Otocinclus Catfish (also called dwarf suckers and Otos) is another catfish in the list. The main advantage of adding otos to your aquarium is its small size, which enables them to pull into smaller spaces and perform their destructive tasks with algae. Otos seldom grow over 2 inches long. However, don’t let you fool their tiny size. You can eat more algae than you believe!
Dwarf Suckers’ are going to prosper in all kinds of vegetation and algae, but they prefer brown algae and soft, green algae. It must, however, be noted that otos have a great appetite, therefore, if there are no algae in your aquarium to make them happy.
Otos are a scholastic fish and should be kept in groups of at least 5 unlike previously mentioned Twig Catfish and Siamese Algae Eaters. However, you don’t need a large tank to be happy because it is small, and 30 gallons are more than enough.
Otos usually deal with most fish species, but Cichlids and Angelfish are known to attack because they are small in size. If you keep any of them at present, keep that in mind.
Best Alge Eating Snails
1. Nerite Snails
Nerite Snails are one of the most popular algae foods. It’s no wonder why these little gems are the most common with their beautification of the zebra and their enormous appetite for algae.
It is known that Nerite Snails eat every type of algae, including the harder ones to eradicate such as Green Spot and Green Beard Algae, found in a freshwater aquarium. They also live at the bottom of your substrate and can help to clean it.
Nerite snails are easy targets for large predatory fish, such as Cichlid and Loaches, measuring around 3 centimeters when fully grown, so we do not advise them to stay together.
Nerite Snails have a pH level of 7 or higher to thrive and maintain their coats hard, and harsh water is the best choice, as the calcium of hard water helps their shells maintain healthily.
The only problem with such snails is that if you don’t keep it covered, they tend to climb out of the tank. Hundreds of little white eggs are also left around your tank, covering the plants and the rocks at times fully.
It’s great when you try to breed it, but if you don’t, you might feel the eyesore. Nerite Snails are a great small algae eater and we definitely would recommend them besides these two small problems.
2. Apple Snail
The Mystery Apple Snail is on the opposite side of the spectrum of snails. Those algae mixers may grow to be the size of a baseball even if they are usually baby, so make sure you have sufficient tank space to accommodate them.
Mystery Snails can be spotted easily, not only because of their size but also because of their huge antennas, which usually spray through the aquarium floor. Their shells are usually bright yellow but are brown and some violet and red shades.
Mystery Apple Snails are mostly used to eat algae, substrata algae, and aquarium glass algae. Although most of them eat algae
Usually, you will find them at the end of the time, grass the algae substratum and collect any food residue. Even if their appetite is great and most types of algae are prepared to eat, Mystery Snails is still recommended for you to feed a wide range of aquarium safe vegetation.
Larger Mystery Snails are normally safe and safe, but smaller ones are a target of larger, predatory fish. They also tend to eat live plants if the algae and vegetation are not sufficient to fill up, so be sure they are well fed. In all, if you can get your hands on it, the Mystery Apple Snail is an excellent addition to any tank.
3. Trumpet Snail
The Malaysian Trumpet Snail is on the other side of the sizing spectrum. These busy snails that eat algae grow only about 2 centimeters when fully grown, and keep your aquarium clean.
They consume all kinds of algae and all remaining vegetation and food. The Malaysian Trumpets don’t eat your plants as opposed to those of the Mystery Apple Snails so, if you have a live aquarium, it is the ideal place.
In order to make your shells nice and hard, you prefer a better alkaline water balance, just like with all sneakers.
During the day and during the night, when they are busy, you will find Malaysian trumpet Snails digging their way across the substratum, covering all material and algae that have fallen through the cracks.
Malaysian trumpets are very susceptible to consumption due to their size, so be careful to keep them with other predatory fish.
Best Agle Eating Shrimps
There is currently a wide variety of aquarium shrimp species, including Cardinal Shrimp, Crystal Red Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, Arlequin Shrimp or Red Cherry Shrimp.
1. Cardinal Shrimp
Cardinal Shrimps are remarkable in having a lot of white dots on their bodies that make them very spectacular. Originally, they come from Indonesia, more specifically from Sulawesi, a place where there are several known shrimp species.
With regard to the most appropriate aquarium water temperature to grow such a species, it is recommended that it does not fall below 25 degrees.
Also, it is good to know that both the pH and the water hardness should not be higher than seven or eight percent, otherwise the shrimp will not resist. You can use coral fragments to increase water hardness, or even fine sand, to reproduce the natural conditions in which Cardinal shrimp live.
This species feeds especially on algae, such as spirulina. Alternatively, you can try food designed for invertebrates, as it has high algae content. It is said that the best time to feed the cardinal shrimp is in the dark because they do not like too much to eat the light.
In addition, you do not need to feed them more than once a day, and even if you do not eat them for two or three days in a row you do not have to panic because they will consume the debris from the previous meals.
Interestingly, the difference between male and female Cardinal is represented by the presence of an egg storage pouch, which occurs only in females. This can only be seen with an infrared lamp. Cardinal shrimp reproduces in fresh water. A female can lay up to 15 eggs, and within one month the pups come out.
As far as their behavior is concerned, Cardinal shrimps are very agitated, always trying to find sources of aquarium food. They are also not aggressive at all and tolerate many species of aquatic life. Still, they feel best when they are Sulawesi snails because in their natural environment they often meet with them.
2. Crystal Red Shrimp
The second species of shrimp for the aquarium is represented by Crystal Red Shrimp. They are easy to grow, have a beautiful color and are highly sought after by passionate people. However, the purchase price of one copy can lead to over 50 euros, so you need to be prepared.
Crystal Red shrimp appeared recently in the ’90s when a Japanese reproduced a few specimens of typical Albina shrimp (with white stripes in black) with some that had red stripes instead of black ones. The result was the appearance of several classes of Crystal Red.
Generally, these shrimps prefer less acidic water, with a pH below seven percent and a hardness of five. In relation to water temperature, it is best that it does not pass 28 degrees.
Females of Crystal Red are slightly larger than males, at least when they both are mature. Under the belly, females have space where they will store the increments until they are hatched.
Crystal Red shrimps are easy to reproduce and multiply with ease. At birth, youngsters are minuscule, not exceeding two millimeters.
In terms of feeding this shrimp species, they consume, like most, algae. Therefore, it is advisable to give them this aquarium food.
Crystal Red does not refuse any food that is not consumed by other creatures in your aquarium and, above all, adore cooked carrots or squash. All this must be cut into pieces of two to three millimeters.
In order not to risk damaging the water quality, if the vegetables are not consumed within a day, they need to be taken out of the water. Moreover, keep in mind that you do not have to feed these shrimp in excess, because they do not eat much food. The food scraps increase the level of nitrates in the water and make it shriveled.
3, Amano Shrimps
Amano Shrimps are very popular, making it the second place under the Red Cherry Shrimp.
In its aquariums it is very difficult to reproduce, so the vast majority of specimens come from the wild. However, over the last few years several copies have been reproduced, but after long efforts.
Amano Shrimps are very sensitive, often they die a few days after they were put in the aquariums. The main reason is the stress and fatigue they accumulate along the journey they make from the natural environment to the aquarium. Another cause for the fact that these shrimps do not survive for a long time, represented by the erroneous feeding mode.
Besides the algae in the aquarium, they also need other sources of food, such as pumpkins, cucumbers, boiled spinach or specially designed food for them.
As with all shrimp species, do not forget to remove the vegetable residue after 24 hours of introducing it into the aquarium to keep the water quality at its best.
In connection with the reproduction of Amano Shrimp, it is good to know that this species needs water with a very low salinity, better known as salty water.
Once the chickens hatch, there are larvae that climb through the aquarium, unlike other shrimp species that give birth to live chickens.
Also Check: Amano Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp
It is advisable to keep these shrimps in an aquarium of at least 150 liters. The pH must be neutral and the temperature in the water should not be less than 24-25 degrees.
Amano Shrimp Females range from a few hundred to a few thousand eggs. After five weeks, the larvae will come out of them. It is contraindicated to move the females into salt water before the larvae appear, because the eggs will not hatch, for the reason that I have previously shown.
Larvae of Amano feel great in 10-liter aquariums. You need to keep in mind that you need a salinity of water around 30-35 ppm and a temperature of about 25 degrees.
How to Control the Aquarium Algae
Growing algae is a fact of life that every aquarium owner will face sooner or later. Some algae are normal and healthy, but excessive algae growth can be dangerous for fish and plants.
Types of algae
Do you already have algae in the aquarium and have to get rid of them? Knowing the type of algae will determine the cause and remedy. We will present types of algae, and how to get rid of them.
Brown Brown algae, also known as gravel or silica algae. Frequently in new aquariums, they will cover the aquarium in layers that can be easily removed. It is usually harmless and will eventually disappear while the aquarium is maturing.
Blue-green algae, also known as Slim or Smear algae – caused by excess nitrates and phosphates, is a cyanobacterium. It can spread rapidly and can cause considerable damage. Good water care will help, but if the water source has phosphates in it, it may be necessary to use special treatments to eliminate excess nutrients. Erythromycin is also effective against blue-green algae.
Red algae or beard – This is the most difficult algae, and usually occurs on plants. A bath in a low bleach solution (5 to 10%) for a few minutes will often kill this type of algae.
Green Algae, also known as hair, fillet or spot algae – This is a normal type of beneficial algae that each aquarium will most likely have to some extent. As long as the aquarium is well cared for, it will not exceed an alarming degree.
Green water, also known as Algae Bloom – This is caused by the growth of microscopic algae that are suspended in water. It is one of the most frustrating types of algae to eliminate them because it can not be deleted or scraped like other algae.
Generally, water exchanges are not effective, as the remaining algae will grow rapidly. Using a diatomic filter or blocking all the lights for a few days is usually required to remove green water.
What Causes Excessive Algae Growth?
Like any plant, algae need three elements to grow: water, sunlight, and nutrients. If an excess of any of these is available, algae will grow rapidly and turn into the plague.
Obviously, you can not without water in the aquarium, but you can control the amount of light and nutrients in the water. Here are the common reasons for excessive algal growth.
- Lights – Excessive photoperiod and inadequate spectrum
- Aquarium in a location with direct sunlight
- Water exchanges
- Using water with high nutrients
Tips for Algae Prevention
Knowing the causes of algae is the first half of the battle. Here’s what you need to do to avoid excessive algal growth.
Reduce lighting – Do not place the aquarium where there is direct sunlight, even for part of the day. Sunlight can and will promote the growth of algae. When using artificial light, make sure it is not stronger than necessary and is no more than eight hours a day. To make sure you use a temporization to turn the lights on and off every day.
Fewer food – Most aquarists have over-fish, which leads to increased levels of phosphate in water. Feed small portions and watch fish eat all. If the food is not eaten in five minutes, always remove any debris.
Water changes – The only important way to avoid algae is to make regular water changes. Replace ten to fifteen percent of aquarium water every week to keep nutrients in low water.
Know Your Water – Test your water source. If it is rich in phosphates, you should consider using phosphate removal or find another source of water. It is also good to test nitrates as some water sources have increased nitrates.
Algae Removal – If you see that algae grow on glass, on stones or on other hard surfaces of the aquarium, remove them. Wipe the glass, remove the stones and clean them and vacuum the gravel when making water changes.
Keep your plants alive – Viivorous plants use many of the nutrients with which algae develop. Fewer nutrients mean that there is less food for the growth of the algae.
Clean up Crew – introducing aquariums to aquatic animals and fish that feed on these harmful algae species.
Algal Control in the Aquarium
Algae cannot be completely eradicated, algae live in almost any environment and travel as spores through the air and can thus reach the aquarium at any time. The importance is knowing the methods of preventing excessive algal growth.
Algae can be controlled by restricting their access to all the elements necessary for their development, thus maintaining an aquarium with strong illumination but with little nutrition or vice versa.
It is one of the essential elements of algae development, it is found in the aquarium as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The level of nitrogen concentration in the aquarium can be controlled by limiting fish feed, limiting the number of fish and making partial water changes weekly.
The most common cause of the excessive development of algae in the aquarium, be it sunlight or too much artificial light, contributes decisively to the growth of algae. It is recommended to ferment the aquarium of direct sunlight because in almost all cases it starts algal development.
In the case of planted aquariums where artificial light is used, it is recommended that the first signs of algal growth increase the number of fast-growing plants and add floating plants that limit the amount of light scattered in the water.
These chemical compounds accumulate in the aquarium due to excess animal waste. A high concentration of phosphates is likely to occur in aquariums where fish are fed excessively or in overpopulation
. It is also possible that fountain water extracted from the upper layers of the phreatic soil contains a high concentration of phosphates, infiltrations from agricultural fertilizers applied in the field. There are several filtered environments that can be used to fix this problem.
Over-fertilization of fertilizer in the aquarium is another common cause for the excessive growth of algae, this can be remedied by adding more plants and establishing a balance between algae and plant development.
Are algae eaters aggressive? Depending on the species. For example, Siamese Algae Eaters and Betta fish tend not to get along, because the SAE fish likes to bite the Betta. This is due to the large fins and tail of the Betta which attracts the SAE.
Are algae eaters good to have? Yes. They do a good job by helping you keep the algae under control.
Will algae eaters clean my tank? You should not rely only on the algae eaters to get rid of algae from your tank. They will do their job and limit the spread of algae and keep it under strict control, but it’s still up to you to do regular water changes and aquarium cleanups.
Are Plecos good algae eaters? Depending on what species of Plecos we are talking about. Most plecos will not touch algae since they are bottom dwellers and they only clean the bottom of the tank by eating remaining food and other fish waste.