19 Awesome Algae Eaters To Help Keep Aquarium Clean

Algae eater pets help control the growth of algae in an aquarium. There are many algae-eating animals like snails, fish, and shrimp. These are the best algae eaters for freshwater aquariums:

Best Algae Eater Fish

Algae eaters or algivores are a group of bottom-dwelling or algae-eating fish that help keep aquariums clean. Here are the different types of algae eater fish for freshwater aquariums:

Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese algae eater is the perfect fish to keep your aquarium algae free. It’s the most recommend type of algae eater in the fishkeeping community.

These fish feed on several different types of algae and eat algae that other species won’t.
You can place Siamese algae eaters in community tanks with other peaceful tank mates.

Siamese algae eater

Bushymouth Catfish

The Bushymouth catfish eat algae as well as plants and roots. They also eat other dead fish that sink to the bottom of the fish tank (see references below).

Bushymouth Catfish
Bushymouth Catfish

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose catfish or pleco grows up to 5 inches. It is as peaceful as the Bushymouth catfish (both belong to the same family).

Bristlenose Pleco
Bristlenose Pleco

Chinese Algae Eater

Chinese algae eaters are easy to care for, but they become a bit aggressive toward other fish as they grow. They can grow to lengths of up to 10 inches, and you shouldn’t keep them with docile fish.

Chinese Algae Eater
Chinese Algae Eater

Otocinclus Catfish

The Oto cat or otocinclus catfish is a small algae eater that grows up to 2 inches in length. They look like Chinese algae eaters but smaller and more peaceful. So, keep them in community tanks with other types of bottom feeders and friendly fish. Oto fish are similar in appearance to the larger Chinese algae eater, but they are much more peaceful.

Otocinclus Catfish
Otocinclus Catfish

Flagfish

The American Flagfish feed on algae in a fish tank but need other food if enough algae are not present. They also eat live foods such as brine shrimp, white worms, tubifex, but algae flake food or algae tablets will suffice.

flagfish
flagfish

Whiptail Catfish

Whiptail catfish are a type of armored catfish. They are peaceful fish and easy to care for. Whiptail catfish are usually black or tan and grow up to about 6 inches in length. They are omnivorous and will eat leftover fish food besides algae.

Whiptail Catfish
Whiptail Catfish

Twig Catfish

Twig catfish have long, thin bodies and grow to about 4 inches in length. They are peaceful fish and are good tank mates for livebearers like guppies. But, larger fish can and will bully twig catfish, so it’s best not to keep them with aggressive fish.

Twig Catfish
Twig Catfish

Dwarf Sucking Catfish

The Dwarf sucking catfish or Dwarf Oto is a bottom-feeder only grows to around 1.5 inches. They are peaceful fish and graze on some soft algae. But, they do not eat hair algae or green spot algae.

Dwarf Sucking Catfish
Dwarf Sucking Catfish

Zebra Oto

The Zebra oto feeds on algae in the wild. In an aquarium, it should have enough of green and brown soft algae to graze on. These form a biofilm on plant decor and the tank glass. The Zebra oto then scrapes it off and eats it.

Zebra oto
Zebra oto

References

Best Algae Eater Shrimp

Freshwater shrimps are skillful at cleaning algae in your tank. They also eat leftover fish food and decaying plants. These are the most common algae eating shrimp:

Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp are small and easy to care for. They grow up to 2 inches in length and are great additions to small aquariums. They are also known as the Algae Eating shrimp. That alone tells you that they are the best algae eating shrimp.

It’s best to keep them in groups of three or more and in tanks with small to medium-sized fish that are peaceful. Because of their size, large or aggressive fish will attack and eat them. So, I don’t recommend fish like goldfish and cichlids.

Amano Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp are bright red and do best in groups of 2 to 4. They are easy to care for and will happily graze on algae and uneaten fish food. Try to keep them in aquariums with smaller fish and avoid placing them with carnivorous or big aggressive fish. For instance, you can keep cherry shrimp and guppies in the same tank.

Cherry Shrimp
Cherry Shrimp

Bamboo Shrimp

Bamboo shrimp have reddish-brown bodies with white stripes. They grow between 2 and 3 inches in length, making them bigger than other algae-eating shrimp.

These shrimps are easy to maintain so long as they have access to lots of algae and leftover fish food to eat. You can also supplement their nutrition with algae wafers.

Bamboo shrimp, like other algae eater shrimp, are peaceful and can live in aquariums that do not have big or predatory fish. These shrimp are peaceful by nature, so they do well in the community tank, though they may become prey to larger and predatory species.

Bamboo Shrimp
Bamboo Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are shrimp that have see-through bodies. They are not as effective at cleaning up algae in an aquarium as the Amano shrimp or cherry shrimp, but they can help. They grow to about 2 inches in length and are peaceful. They thrive best in tanks with other small and non-aggressive tank mates.

References

Best Algae Eater Snails

Some people consider snails to be pests in freshwater tanks, but there are some types of snails that make good algae eaters. These are the best algae eating snails for freshwater aquariums:

Nerite Snail

Nerite snails have a zebra-like pattern on their shell and are the most common species of algae-eating snails. The reason behind this is because Nerites eat all types of algae, and they can rid a tank of algae rather fast. They grow to about an inch in length, so do not keep them with large fish that may eat or attack them.

Apple Snails

Apple snails prefer to chow down on plants, so they are not a good fit for a planted tank. But, they will eat algae if there is no other food source around. So, for aquariums with little vegetation, apple snails can help control algae, though it is not their preferred food. Give them other sources of food like cucumbers. Apple snails also make great goldfish tank mates.

Apple Snail - Mystery Snail
Apple Snail – Mystery Snail

Rabbit Snail

Rabbit snails are giant algae-eating snails that can grow up to 5 inches in length. They have long and pointed shells and are usually brown or yellow. Rabbit snails do not usually feed on live aquarium plants; instead, they prefer to decaying plant matter and other debris.

Rabbit Snail

Ramshorn Snail

Ramshorn snails feed on several algae types, leftover fish food, and decaying plants. These snails do not eat live plants and are best suited for tanks that house peaceful fish. Large or aggressive fish like loaches, cichlids will attack and harass them.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail

The Malaysian trumpet snail grows less than 1 inch in length. The shells are long and can be of a variety of colors. These algae eating snails feed on most kinds of algae in fish tanks and are not known to feed on plants.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail

References

Last update on 2020-11-28 / Affiliate links / As an Amazon Associate this website may earn from qualifying purchases.