Algae eaters space often taken into consideration the equipment to algae in the aquarium. Algae is a typical problem to countless people, specifically in newly collection up aquariums. A regular “answer” to this is to walk to the aquarium shop and also ask because that “a fish the cleans increase the algae” or an “algae eater”. This is miscellaneous that requires a fair bit an ext consideration than it might seem as there space a few problems with this. This short article will take you through few of the things you should consider prior to deciding even if it is or not an algae eater is the right addition to your aquarium.

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Why is there algae in the tank in the an initial place?

It’s necessary to know why your tank is influenced by algae. This will aid you treat the cause as well as the symptom. Including an birds eater doesn’t actually settle the problem of why there is birds in the tank. Algae is usually resulted in by a combination of a lot of nutrients and also a the majority of light in the tank or an additional imbalance in the small ecosystem. If there space too numerous nutrients in the tank then including another fish isn’t really going to assist as the fish will certainly produce more waste, which is nutrition because that algae. Certain varieties of fish frequently sold as algae eaters are renowned because that producing substantial amounts of waste due to the nature of their diets. Listed below is a snapshot of one night’s precious of ‘output’ from Hermione, the common pleco! That’s her tail in the background.

Many fish thought of as algae eaters are very messy and can in reality make the trouble worse by including to the bioload the the tank. Shown here is one night’s precious of ‘output’ indigenous a ‘common pleco’

Algae in the tank is not necessarily a reason for panic. Because that example, one of the most typical forms of algae is diatom algae, or brown algae. This is typical in newly set up aquariums and also often goes far of its own accord as the aquarium matures. It is easy to clean off yourself through a brush or sponge. This is often far more effective than gaining a fish to execute the job, it’s not basic to describe your needs to a fish so you don’t constantly get the job you wanted done.

This guide will aid you with some of the common causes of algae and also how to rectify them.

Will I have to feed my algae eater? If so, what?

Assuming the fish is effective in removing the algae, it will should be fed. A the majority of people think that because these fish eat algae, they don’t must be fed anything else and will just survive top top the birds in the tank. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because algae is very low in nutrition, the fish needs to eat a many it. Once the tank is relatively complimentary from algae, the fish will should be fed a the majority of extra food to supplement its diet. It’s additionally worth noting the very few species that fish eat all species of algae. So there will more than likely still be part algae farming somewhere in the tank. This is no a factor to say “Well, there’s still birds in the tank, ns don’t must feed my algae eater”, or come say “let’s get yet one more fish come eat the other type of algae”!

There is some evidence to indicate that poorly fed birds eaters are more likely to try to feed on the sides of other fish. Evidence suggests that they strike the slime coat as they are searching for nutrients and will connect to the political parties of other fish to shot to feed on this.

Some people think that “Because it’s acquired a suckermouth, it will certainly eat algae”. There are countless kinds the suckermouth fish that will certainly not live on algae, not even survive on it. A suckermouth is much an ext a authorize of the kind of water lock live in – fast flowing water, where the suckermouth is a means to preserve their place in the circulation without having actually to swimming – not a authorize of their diet. Sure, many types of this fish do indeed feed at least partly on algae, however many others room not in ~ all algae eaters. Because that example, Panaque nigrolineatus eats wood, and will not clean birds from glass or stone. Leporacanthicus triactis is a carnivore, which will certainly feed on mussels, crustaceans and also freshwater sponges, and not touch algae at all.

This means it’s vital to be certain what diet your birds eater in reality needs. As pointed out above, the suckermouth alone is no an indicator that the fish feeds specifically on algae. We recommend you inspect the needs for her fish versus the species provided in my article on planetcatfish: Shane’s World Catfishology Feeding Plecos, component 2 • who eats what? If you are not totally sure what varieties you have please feel totally free to write-up on the planetcatfish court for further information and we will try to identify your fish for you.

Once you space confident that you know what her fish is, and also what that prefers come eat, you might like to take it a look in ~ my other short article which gives much more details top top what you have the right to feed your birds eater: Shane’s World Catfishology Feeding Plecos, component 1 • types of food

It’s worth bearing in mind the the foods perfect for supplementing the diet the suckermouth algae eaters are likewise suitable for supplementing the diets of other types of birds eater.

Algae eaters require supplementary food as well as algae, this ‘Chinese birds eater’ is enjoying part courgette

Is the algae eater perfect for her aquarium and is her aquarium suitable for the birds eater?

Many so referred to as algae eaters live in water the is quite fast flowing. This way they require reasonably high circulation in the aquarium that we make your home. Short oxygen levels and dirty water are very likely to kill these fish.

Hillstream loach types are generally sold as birds eaters for coldwater or warm tanks. Castle are likewise known together Hong Kong plecs, butterfly plecs and also Borneo suckerfish amongst other usual names. These fish have very certain requirements and are ideal suited to set ups with very high flow. There is fantastic article on which offers some an excellent information ~ above the demands of this fish – Hillstream loaches – the experts at life in the quick lane.

Several types of fish sold as algae eaters space not really good fish because that the mean aquarium. One of the typical fish offered as a “good algae eater” is Pterygoplichthys pardalis, aka the “Common Pleco”. It will certainly eat birds nicely, yet it will also grow to roughly 45cm/18″, not counting the tailfin. The one in the photograph listed below is Hermione. To acquire a sense of scale, that piece of cucumber she’s eating is 2 customs long, and also if friend look carefully you have the right to see a teaspoon stuck through it to weight it down.

A ‘common pleco’ aka Pterygoplichthys pardalis – this are often bought as birds eaters yet grow as much as 18 inch long. The item of cucumber Hermione is eat is 2 inches lengthy which provides an idea of her size

Other catfish, such together Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps “Sailfin pleco”, are additionally commonly obtainable as birds eaters. However, the Sailfin Pleco grow a small larger still 보다 the usual pleco. The one pictured below is referred to as Sin, he’s only in this tank to pose because that the camera, his real residence is 5’/150cm long. He was rescued native a 2’/60cm tank where he to be living as an ‘algae eater’ and also was in really poor wellness as a result. The tank he’s posing in is 18″/45cm long so you can see the he’s not reached full size yet, although he’s fine on his way.

Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps aka ‘gibbi’ or sailfin plec are regularly sold as algae eaters. Castle can flourish up to 18 customs though and also are extremely unsuitable because that the majority of tanks
The gibbiceps is frequently sold together an algae eater however their eventual size provides them a poor idea for most domestic aquariums

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri “Chinese algae Eater” and also related types are frequently sold as algae eaters too. These not only thrive to 27cm/11″ or so, yet are likewise aggressive, territorial fish that carry out not mix well with various other fish as soon as they begin to mature. Likewise as they mature, lock seek an ext and much more of a “meaty” diet, therefore will often prefer flake or tablet food quite than algae. There are even reports of big specimens attacking and also eating various other fish. Ivor, presented in the picture below, is still young but is no at all reliable at algae eating. That does eat a bit but if anyone to be expecting him to actually clean a tank they’d it is in sorely disappointed!

A young Gyrinocheilus aymonieri aka Chinese birds Eater – these have the right to grow huge and come to be aggressive

There are much more practical solutions and alternate algae eaters

As discussed above, the is often much more effective come clean birds off yourself, or treat the cause instead the the symptom. There room some fish that are reasonable choices, but they need to only yes, really be kept since the owner is crawl on keeping the fish, and also the owner should understand the needs and requirements of the fish. They room not a “single payment labourer the cleans the tank”.

Two of the far better choices are:Ancistrus – “Bristlenose”. The common range of this fish grow to roughly 12-15cm/5-6″, and also is really hardy and also easy to keep. As lengthy as the tank is big enough, and they space fed well, castle are very nice aquarium fish. Males have bigger bristles than females, and they will happily breed if problems are right.

The usual Pleco shown here is a 40cm/16″ adult, and also the Bristlenose is almost completely grown – you deserve to see exactly how much more of a controllable size the Bristlenose is because that the average aquarium.
Hermione and Barney demonstrating why Bristlenoses space much much more suitable for the median aquarium.
Baby bristlenose catfish – these are an excellent community fish and algae eaters

Otocinclus – “Otos”. This are little fish that live in large groups in nature. Lock are taken into consideration fragile in the hobby, mainly due to the fact that when they are preserved in the shops they execute not get enough of the ideal kind the food, and also wholesalers/exporters regularly don’t feed them at all. This fish are good for tanks through a most plants, but they must be retained in a group of 5-6 fish, best more, so not, as some people seem to think, perfect for “nano-tanks”. And also they require feeding!

Otocinclus macrospilus – aka ‘oto’ – is a an excellent algae eater but as with all algae eaters it requirements conditions suitable for its species, it’s no an indiscriminate housekeeper
Otocinclus macrospilus – aka ‘oto’ – these are little algae eaters which favor to live in teams in well planted aquaria

If girlfriend are in search of an alternate to fish, then Caridina multidentata “Amano shrimp” (sometimes recognized as Yamato shrimp) are great algae eaters in tiny tanks, but can be perceptible to water quality. They should only be kept with fish that won’t watch them as a tasty snack! valuable Fishkeepng have actually a good article on amano shrimp v much more information around them so examine it out if you’re considering maintaining them.

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Caridina multidentata – aka Amano shrimp are entertaining and relatively an excellent algae eaters

Nerite snails, Neritina natalensis “Zebra nerite” (sometimes recognized as Tiger nerite) are another tiny algae eater. Whereas numerous snails can end up being pests in an aquarium, nerite eggs will certainly not blee in a residence aquarium, together they need brackish water for reproduction.

In summary

Treating the reason of algae is more effective than treating the symptomEnsure that any algae eater is compatible with your existing fishEnsure that your aquarium is an ideal for the birds eaterEnsure that the nutritional needs of the algae eater are catered forEnjoy your algae eater because that what the is, don’t mean it to execute all her housework because that you

Author: mats PeterssonPhotographs: courtesy that Fishlady at, Fluttermoth, and also