26 Best Algae Eaters For Your Fish Tank

The best algae eaters can help keep your aquarium clean and healthy. Algae are a type of bacteria that can grow in freshwater tanks. While some algae are harmless, others can cause problems for your fish. They are also capable of preventing light, which is essential for fish to be able to see.

If you have a problem with algae in your aquarium, you may want to consider getting some algae eaters. In this article,  we shall cover the best algae eaters for your aquarium, taking into account their size, habitat, and the type of algae you are dealing with.

What Are The Different Types Of Algae Eaters?

If your aquarium is full of ugly algae, you need some hungry helpers to control the problem. We’ve listed 7 algae eaters below that are not only safe for aquatic plants but also often work well together.

Amano Shrimp

This is a small, clear-brown shrimp that is about 2 inches long. If they don’t get too much food, they will eat black beard algae and hair algae. Due to their small size, you’ll need at least four of them to stop algae growth in a big way.

Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are one of the most popular algae-eating animals for aquariums because they do not multiply in freshwater like other snail species. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and they grow to be about an inch long. These snails are voracious eaters and will consume all types of algae, including green algae, diatoms, and black brush algae.

Otocinclus Catfish

This algae eater is often called “dwarf suckermouths” because they are only about 2 inches long. Since they are thin, they can get into places where other algae-eaters can’t. Their mouths are great for eating diatom algae from flat surfaces like aquarium glass or plant leaves.

Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae eater is about 6 inches long and lives in larger aquariums. Their mouths, which are turned down, eat hair algae, black beard algae, and other things in the tank. They can be territorial with their own species or species that look like them, so get one or three for extra algae-eating power.

Bristlenose Plecostomus

Bristlenose plecos are peaceful catfish that stay between 4 and 5 inches long, which makes them perfect for a 25-gallon tank or larger. Their suckermouths are made for eating algae, cleaning up food crumbs, and keeping driftwood clean. These fish are nocturnal, so they will be the most active at night.

Molly Fish

Mollies’ jaws are flat, and their stomachs don’t have a bottom, so they often eat algae off of plants, hardscapes, and flat surfaces. They can have a lot of babies if there is enough food and places for the fry to hide. Most fancy mollies are raised in fish farms with salty water, so adding aquarium salt and minerals could help them do well.

Reticulated Hillstream Loach

This algae-eating fish is one of the most interesting you’ll see. It is about 3 inches long and has black lines and golden-brown spots. With their strong grip, they can clean vertical tank walls, rocks, and large plant leaves. They clean diatoms and flat algae like a window cleaner does.

There are a variety of different types of algae eaters that can be helpful in controlling the growth of algae in your aquarium. Amano shrimp, nerite snails, and otocinclus catfish are some of the most popular options. Each has its own unique set of benefits that can be helpful in keeping your aquarium clean and algae-free.

golden algae eater in a aquarium with anubias plant

What Are The Best Algae Eaters For Planted Tanks?

Some fish and invertebrates can help manage algae in a planted tank. These species feed on freshwater algae. Below are my top 7 algae eaters that will help you keep those algae away!

1. Farlowella Catfish

Farlowella catfish originates from South America and can grow up to 6 inches in length. They are shy and like to hide, so a tank with plants and bogwood is a good place for them. They can be sensitive to changes in the water, so don’t make big water changes with tap water that is very different or quickly change the water parameters.

2. Red Cherry Shrimp

Red cherry shrimp are easy to care for and do well in a variety of different water conditions. They are also one of the few shrimp that can tolerate some brackish water. These little guys will help clean up algae in your planted tank and are also great for eating leftover food.

3. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are one of the best algae eaters for planted tanks. They are peaceful and do not bother plants or fish. They are also one of the few snail species that can tolerate brackish water. Nerite snails are very effective at eating algae and will help keep your planted tank clean.

4. Bristlenose Plecostomus 

These bottom dwellers can easily remove diatom and soft algae. They won’t eat green hair or green spot algae, though. They often eat on tank walls or newly added driftwood in your aquarium that develops fuzzy gray bacterial fungus.

5. Molly Fish

Mollies are known to be one of the best algae eaters for planted tanks. They have a flat jaw and stomach, which helps them graze on algae on plants and other surfaces in your aquarium. Mollies are also known to be livebearers, so they can have a lot of babies if there is enough food and places for the fry to hide. 

6. Reticulated Hillstream Loach

This unique-looking fish is a great algae eater for planted tanks. They are nocturnal and will often clean vertical surfaces in your aquarium, such as tank walls, rocks, and large plant leaves. They are very effective at eating diatoms and flat algae.

7. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are small, peaceful fish that are great algae eaters for planted tanks. They originate from South America and can grow up to 2 inches in length. They are very effective at eating algae but they should not be the only algae eater in your aquarium. They are also sensitive to water changes and should not be added to a new tank.

These are all great algae eaters that will help you keep your planted tank clean and free of algae. Choose the right species for your aquarium and be sure to provide them with plenty of places to hide and good water conditions.

What Are The Best Algae Eaters For 10 Gallon Tanks?

In nature, there are many creatures that eat algae. Fish, snails, and shrimp are just a few of the options. Below, we have listed the 7 best algae eaters for 10-gallon tanks.

1. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are small, peaceful fish that are great algae eaters for 10-gallon tanks. They originate from South America and can grow up to 2 inches in length. They are very effective at eating algae but they should not be the only algae eater in your aquarium. 

2. Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp are a great addition to any 10-gallon tank. Not only do they help eat algae, but they also add a splash of color. These little guys are easy to care for and do well in a variety of different water conditions. 

3. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are one of the best algae eaters for 10-gallon tanks. They are peaceful and do not bother plants or fish. Nerite snails are very effective at eating algae and will help keep your tank clean.

4. Bladder Snails

Bladder snails are small freshwater snails that are great algae eaters. They originate from Africa and can grow up to 1/2 inch in length. Bladder snails are scavengers and will eat just about anything, including algae. 

5. Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are another great option for 10-gallon tanks. These little guys are very effective at eating algae and do not bother other fish or plants. Ghost shrimp are also known as glass shrimp due to their clear bodies. 

6. Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimps work incredibly hard and are both tenacious. So, if you want to clean your 10-gallon tank more quickly and easily, this is what you need. They work just as well for unusual algae like hair algae as they do for normal cleanup. They scan the aquarium to find the algae they can eat.

7. Bamboo Shrimp

Bamboo shrimps feed on small organisms in the waters around them. As a result, they may consume microscopic algae that you cannot even see. They will also occasionally eat other plants but are unlikely to intentionally seek for algae to eat.

There are many different types of algae eaters that can be added to a 10-gallon tank. Make careful to pick the right algae eater for your aquarium and to give the fish good water quality and lots of hiding places.

What Are The Best Algae Eaters For 20 Gallon Tanks

20-gallon tanks are a great size for many different types of fish, and we understand how cleaning algae could be tiresome. For this reason, we have listed the 7 best algae eaters for 20-gallon tanks.

1. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium snails, and they are nearly always accessible at chain and neighborhood pet stores. The reputation of nerite snails as one of the best algae eaters and excellent tank cleaners is well-deserved. They are very effective at eating algae and will help keep your 20-gallon tank clean.

2. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish can be a great addition to your 20-gallon tank because they are calm. These little Catfish don’t have any bad bones, so they won’t hurt other fish in your tank. You can add more Otocinclus Catfish to your tank without worrying about them getting aggressive.

3. Cherry Shrimp

Red Cherry Shrimp are agile tankmates. They can scavenge algae in larger places that other shrimps can’t. Red Cherry Shrimp are strong swimmers and can consume algae off the tank’s side. 

4. Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are excellent at consuming algae, and they help maintain a clean 20-gallon tank. Amano shrimp are also known as “Yamato shrimp” and “cardinal shrimp”. They are native to South America, and their diet consists of various types of algae.

5. Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are another excellent algae-eating shrimp that can be added to your 20-gallon tank. These little guys are very effective at eating algae and do not bother other fish or plants. Ghost shrimp are also known as glass shrimp due to their clear bodies. 

6. Bamboo Shrimp

You may also want to consider adding bamboo shrimp to your 20-gallon tank. Bamboo shrimp are excellent algae eaters and will also consume other small organisms in the water. As a result, they may consume microscopic algae that you cannot even see.

7. Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese algae eaters are one of the most popular algae eaters. They are very effective at eating all types of algae, including tough-to-remove hair algae. Siamese algae eaters originate from Southeast Asia and can grow up to 6 inches in length.

There are many different types of algae eaters that can be added to a 20-gallon tank. We hope this list has helped you choose the best algae eater for your tank! 

What Are The Best Algae Eaters For 5 Gallon Tanks

Your 5-gallon tank is the perfect size for a wide variety of fish, and we understand how keeping it clean can be a challenge. Here are 5 of the best algae eaters for 5-gallon tanks to help make your life a little easier.

1. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium snails, and they’re nearly always available at the chain and local pet stores. The nerite snail’s reputation as one of the best algae eaters and excellent tank cleaners is well-deserved—they’re very effective at eating algae and will help keep your 5-gallon tank clean.

2. Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp are the smallest algae eaters on this list, yet they still remove algae well. Due to their size, they can get where other algae eaters can’t. Cherry shrimp live 1-2 years and grow to 2 inches, so they are ideal for your 50-gallon tank.

3. Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are excellent at consuming algae, and they help maintain a clean 5-gallon tank. Amano shrimp are also known as “Yamato shrimp” and “cardinal shrimp.” They’re native to South America, and their diet consists of various types of algae.

4. Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are another excellent algae-eating shrimp that can be added to your 5-gallon tank. These little guys are very effective at eating algae and do not bother other fish or plants. Ghost shrimp are also known as glass shrimp due to their clear bodies.

5. Bamboo Shrimp

You may also want to consider adding bamboo shrimp to your 5-gallon tank. Bamboo shrimp are excellent algae eaters and will also consume other small organisms in the water. As a result, they may consume microscopic algae that you cannot even see.

There are many different types of algae eaters that can be added to a 5-gallon tank. We hope this list has helped you choose the best algae eater for your tank. Remember to do your research before adding any new fish or invertebrates to your tank!

What Are The Best Brown Algae Eaters?

Brown algae, also known as diatoms, are a type of algae that can be found in both freshwater and saltwater tanks. While brown algae is not harmful to your fish, it can be unsightly and difficult to remove. Here are 5 of the best brown algae eaters to help keep your tank clean.

1. Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese algae eaters are one of the most popular algae eaters. They are very effective at eating all types of algae, including tough-to-remove hair algae. Siamese algae eaters originate from Southeast Asia and can grow up to 6 inches in length.

2. Bristlenose Plecos 

Bristlenose plecos look like aliens because they have long whiskers that hang down from the top of their heads. The fact that this type of pleco eats brown algae makes it popular among people who like fish. These guys are only about 4 to 5 inches long, so they are perfect for medium-sized tanks.

3. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are very good at eating algae and are willing to help you get rid of brown algae. They are small fish, only growing to be about 2 inches long. Otocinclus catfish are also known as “dwarf suckers” or “otoes”.

4. Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are excellent at consuming brown algae and they help maintain a clean tank. Amano shrimp are also known as “Yamato shrimp” and “cardinal shrimp”. They’re native to South America, and their diet consists of various types of algae.

5. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are well-known and very popular among aquarium enthusiasts. The best tank cleaner for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums is probably the Nerite snail. Most of their time will be spent cleaning algae, including brown algae, off the top of your tank.

Brown algae eaters are a great way to keep your tank clean and free of unsightly algae. Siamese algae eaters, bristlenose plecos, otocinclus catfish, Amano shrimp, and nerite snails are all great choices for algae control.

What Are The Best Hair Algae Eaters?

Hair algae are commonly found in freshwater aquariums. They grow in layers that look like carpets and cover plants and other things. They make aquariums look odd, but thanks to algae eaters, this problem can be solved. Here are some of the most effective algae eaters for keeping your tank in great condition:

Rubber-Lipped Pleco

A rubber-lipped pleco is one of the best algae-eaters that gets get rid of hair algae. This is one of the few small species of pleco that will eat all kinds of freshwater algae, even the bad ones like black algae and brown diatoms.

Panda Gara

The Panda Garra is another excellent choice for eating hair algae. They are small but very effective at getting rid of hair algae. They also don’t eat plants, so you don’t have to worry about them damaging your aquarium.

Otocinclus

Otocinclus are one of the best hair algae-eating fish for small tanks. They are very calm and don’t get very big, so nano tanks are a great place for them. They will eat all kinds of algae, including hair algae.

Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese Algae Eater is another great choice for eating hair algae. This fish won’t stop munching on even the most stubborn kinds of algae. 

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose Pleco is a good choice for larger tanks. They grow to be about a foot long, so they need a lot of space to move around. They are very good at eating hair algae and don’t bother plants or other tank mates.

American Flagfish 

The American flagfish is a great choice for eating hair algae in larger tanks. They are very effective at getting rid of algae, but they can also be a bit aggressive, so be sure to add other fish that can hold their own.

Rossy Cherry Shrimp

Rossy cherry shrimp are great at eating hair algae, but they also add a pop of color to your aquarium. They are very peaceful and don’t grow very large, so they are perfect for nano tanks.

 If hair algae are becoming a problem in your aquarium, don’t worry, there are plenty of options for getting rid of them. These are just some of the best algae-eating fish and shrimp that will keep your tank looking its best.

What Are The Best Algae Eaters For African Cichlid Tank?

If you have an African cichlid tank, then you know that algae can be a big problem. Algae can quickly take over your tank and make it look dirty and unkempt. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for getting rid of algae in your cichlid tank. Here are some of the best algae eaters for African cichlid tanks:

1. Senegal Bichir

The Senegal bichir is a great choice for eating algae in African cichlid tanks. They are very effective at getting rid of algae, and they don’t bother other fish or plants.

2. Clown Pleco

Clown plecos are another great choice for eating algae in African cichlid tanks. They are ideal for nano tanks because they are quite calm and don’t grow too big. They will eat all kinds of algae, including hair algae.

3. Otocinclus

Otocinclus are one of the best algae-eating fish for small tanks. They are great for nano tanks because they are low-maintenance and small.

4. Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese algae eater is a great choice for eating algae in African cichlid tanks. Their long, slender body makes them perfect for getting into tight spaces to eat algae.

5. Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose plecos are another great choice for eating algae in African cichlid tanks. They are very peaceful and don’t grow very large, so they are perfect for nano tanks. 

What Are The Best Algae Eaters To Pair With Goldfish?

Goldfish are hardy, colorful fish that are perfect for aquariums. They’re easy to care for and flourish in many water conditions. Goldfish are dirty eaters and produce a significant amount of waste. This waste can soon lead to an algae problem; hence, we listed the top algae eaters to pair with your Goldfish.

Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are by far the best algae eaters for goldfish tanks. Usually, snails won’t eat live plants, but they love to eat algae. They eat dead and dying plants and help clean up the trash on the bottom of the tank. 

Ramshorn Snails

Ramshorn snails are a common type of snail that lives in water. They are sturdy and can live in aquariums and ponds. They do well in a wide range of temperatures, which makes them perfect tank mates for goldfish.

 Corydoras Catfish

The Corydoras catfish is the best choice when it comes to algae eaters for goldfish tanks. In the wild, they can live in water as cool as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can be happy in the same temperature range as goldfish.

Hillstream Loach 

One of the easiest kinds of loach to breed is the Hillstream loach. Even if there are goldfish in the tank, they can still have babies because they lay eggs in holes that the male guards. Almost all of what they eat is algae and dead plants.

 Malaysian Trumpet Snails

Malaysian Trumpet snails are the best algae eaters for goldfish tanks for the money. The longest of these cute snails is about an inch long and looks like a spiral unicorn horn. These snails that eat algae like to burrow, which makes them great additions to tanks with soft substrates that need to be turned, like sand.

What Are The Best Algae Eaters That Stay Small?

If you have a problem with algae in your aquarium, you’re not alone. It might be frustrating to try to eliminate unattractive algae growths especially if you have a small space in your tank. Luckily, there are a number of algae eaters that stay small who will happily keep your aquarium clean. Below are the top 5:

1. Otocinclus

Otocinclus are a type of suckerfish that originate from South America. They are one of the smallest algae eaters, only growing to be about 2 centimeters long. They are peaceful fish that do well in groups and are ideal for smaller aquariums.

2. Bristlenose Pleco

The full-grown length of this Plecostomus is just three to four inches. These algae-eating fish, which might be albino or red-nosed, are available in a variety of colors and shapes. Algae can be controlled by keeping a male and female together.

3. Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gouramis are one of the most popular algae-eating aquarium fish that stays small. They come in a range of colors, including blue, orange, and red. They do best in pairs and prefer to live in planted tanks with plenty of hiding places. 

4. Cherry Barb

Cherry barbs are small, hardy fish that are ideal for beginners. They grow to be about two inches long and eat algae, as well as mosquito larvae and other small insects. They do best in schools of six or more and prefer a planted tank with plenty of hiding places.

5. Mystery Snail

Mystery snails are a type of freshwater snail that is popular in aquariums that also stays small. They are one of the hard-working snails you can find. They will devote their entire life to scouring your aquarium for leftover food and algae. 

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FAQ

Will Algae Eaters Clean My Tank?

As reposted by Modest Fish, algae eaters are your best clean-up crew as they help balance the tank’s environment. They not only control algae in your aquarium, but they also help clean leftover food.

Are Shrimp or Snails Better in a Small Community Tank?

According to Buce Plant, shrimps are better algae eaters for a small community tank than snails. This is because they are quiet and peaceful, and they don’t disturb the other inhabitants of the tank. They are also very effective at eating algae.

Recap

There are a variety of different types of algae eaters that are well-suited for your fish tanks. The best way to distinguish what worked best for you is to know what your options are and the pros and cons for each one. Algae eaters are beneficial for your tank as they help with keeping the tank clean and provide a good environment for your fish. From shrimps, snails, and fishes, each has its own unique way of getting rid of algae and other debris in your tank. So, it really depends on your preference on what you want in your tank and what will work better for you. We hope this article has helped you in deciding the best algae eater for your fish tank. Happy fish keeping!