[Care Tips] The 20 Best Algae Eaters For Your Freshwater Tank

Each algae eater has a unique mouth shape that is suitable to eat several different types of algae. Ensure that your Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank is in its most healthy condition with supplemental nutrients and the appropriate lighting. Do some maintenance work before you add them. Think about adding more algae eater critters to the aquarium to keep the types of algae out of the tank. Check out some awe-inspiring algae-eating animals.

What is an algae eater?

The term algae eater is used to describe species that feed on algae either exclusively or in part of their natural feed. An algae eater can be a species of animal or even an invertebrate like snails or shrimp. Some algae eaters ate particular types of algae, and others grazed much more knowingly on numerous different species. Some may consume plants in aquariums. The algae eater fish, also known as the cleaning crew, can avoid algae in the water.

The Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank

Algae eaters have been a part of aquarium-keeping hobbies for centuries because they provide a vital balance to the natural habitat that every one of us is trying to recreate. Bristlenose Plecos are healthy algae-eating fish that can tolerate the most peaceful tankmates. Cherry Shrimp are easily one the Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank in the area and relatively easy to care for. Malaysian Trumpet snail can eat out all algae in your tank. Algaes can quickly take all of your tanks if you are unable to control them properly. Read this article and learn more about keeping freshwater algae cleaners crew for your tanks. Best Algae Eaters

Types of freshwater algae

Algae is the catch term of vegetable aquatic organisms which convert sunlight into food by photosynthesis. Algae may be single or multicellular organisms (seaweed is a kind of algae) or grows as a biofilm in a protein matrix with microbes. There are different kinds of algae, but its growth is a symptom of something out of balance in the aquarium. Generally, high nutrients due to poor maintenance, or overpopulation, or inconsistent sizing of filtering or lighting cause their population to boom. Depending on the type of something, it can be challenging to control. The problem must be identified and managed from its onset through periodic maintenance and mechanical removal; in severe cases, chemical treatment can be applied.

The complete list

Many hobbyist aquariums have Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank to keep their tanks healthy, with no overpopulation of algae on the walls and equipment inside the aquarium. Most people generally don’t know about what algae-eaters are associating it with a few prevalent algae. Instead, “algae eaters” should be taken to understand a rather large group of fish and invertebrates who have their own specific needs for your tank species. The algae-eating group is small with its particular dietary demands. Find out how the best freshwater Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank work to clean our aquariums.

Best Algae Eating Shrimp

Best Algae Eaters

We have a wide variety of algae-eating shrimp species, some more selective than others in terms of algae type for eating. Freshwater shrimp are also a favorite food for much freshwater fish. Red cherry shrimps are known as shrimp species that consume the most different types of algae. The only downside is that they are very tiny and easily preyed upon by other animals – keeping them in your tank can be difficult. If the shrimp do not have enough hiding places, it’s probably not going to last long in an open environment.

The best algae-eating snails

Best Algae Eaters

Snails are not the best algae eater available in the fishkeeping hobby, but they are a good choice. You can also use some snails to manage algae explosions. In the last few years, demand has increased for freshwater snails as humans have become more open about keeping snails as pets.

Hillstream Loach

Best Algae Eaters

Hillstream loaches (of the genus Sewellia) are a very different-looking algae suckling organism in aquariums. The body of a hillstream loach is surprisingly flat, which gives it a like alien appearance; they also look like stingrays. This helps the fish stay attached to rock and wood even where there are high flows of water. Wild animals fed in flowing, rapid waters in tropical rain forests, which are full of oxygen. In-home aquaria water flow typically tends to be much lesser than in the biotope. A good vegetal-based diet is crucial for good health; supplement the feed with spinach leaf and other vegetables. They will eat every piece of green algae in the tank.

Reticulated Hillstream Loach

Best Algae Eaters

It reaches 3 inches across and looks like a miniature stingray encrusted with contrasting shades of gold and a black outline. Use their powerful gripping abilities to eat algae and quickly clean large, flat surfaces like vertical aquarium walls, rocks, and plant leaves. Think of them as your window cleaner for diatoms and other flat types of algae. Many hillstream and river loaches varieties, including Sewellia lineolata, Beaufortia kweichowensis, and Gastromyzon cyntha. Keep it in warmer water with stable pH and high-quality water. Feast it with high-quality plant-based sinking food.

Mystery Snail

Best Algae Eaters

Mystery apple snail (Pomacea brigesii) is one under-explored algae eater. While it is dark at night, the snails seem to do nothing but eat the algae from vegetation and even glass. Mystery snails reach slightly more than 2 inches thick and provide a perfect algae eater for tanks where shrimps end eaten up by other inhabitants. Offer your snails a good food source like algae wafers – this can also help them maintain good health. A giant mystery snail is essentially kept alone in most aquariums.


Best Algae Eaters

Otocinclus catfish or Otos are peaceful fish and make a suitable mate in a tank that holds other tropical fish. Otos are timid fish and should be kept in groups to reduce stress. When selecting one for a tank, ask whether the Otos exhibited are wild-caught or captive-bred. They are great algae eaters for freshwater, really enjoying eating green spot algae. Otos that survived in a shop or at a home aquarium for two weeks or more have more chance of survival. The availability of captive-bred fish is critical to preserving wild populations. In the case of Otocinclus catfish – trapping the animals in the wild often results in fish that die within days of being captured due to stress. One of the Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank.

Molly Fish

Best Algae Eaters

Mollies are popular livebearers from the Poecilia genus that live in whole fresh to full saltwater in the tropics. Different Mollies can range in size from the 2-inch (5 cm) in Balloon Molly to the nearly 6-in (15 cm) in Sailfin Molly. Fish are often raised and reared in brackish water aquariums. If you spot a health problem in your newly purchased fish, he could consider adding extra calcium to help him alive. The aquarium hobby selectively breeds them into various colors, patterns, tintypes, and body shapes.

Common Pleco

Best Algae Eaters

The common pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus), which many call the quintessential algae eater, is commonly found in aquariums. It’s best to avoid common plecos unless you plan on having a giant aquarium. They’re lined in armor with small eyes, and they’re kind of like dinosaurs. If you have room, a common pleco provides an excellent source for eating the algae. They are also very opportunistic and will eat tiny fish and shrimp.

Siamese algae eater

Best Algae Eaters

The Siamese Algae Eater is one of the few fish that eat black beard algae and hair algae. The main downside of this fish is spotting the real deal as they were often mislabeled and mischaracterized at fish shops. They can be confused with other species of algae-eating fish, such as the Chinese Algae Eater, False Siamese Algae Eater, and the Flying Fox Algae Eater.

Nerite Snails

Best Algae Eaters

Nerite snails eat both algae and scavenging. They are notably handy for removing tough greenish-colored algae and others found on trees and decorations. Like all other types of aquarium snails, Nerite Snails puts white, seed-like eggs that will not hatch in freshwater unless there is an out-of-control population boom. Just don’t forget to offer additional calcium in the water and in their diet (using nano food blocks) to help with the health of the shell. There are many beautiful colors to choose from.

Florida Flagfish

Best Algae Eaters

Jordanella floridae is also known as American flagfish from its red stripes and symmetrical shoulder patches. The female resembles the US flag from its tail. This 2.5-inch (6 cm) voracious algae eater has the perfect mouth for cutting out hair algae, black beard algae, and other fuzzy algae. Flagfish may grow in calmer waters without aquarium heaters. This killifish might be the best for algae eaters for freshwater.

Bristlenose Catfish

Best Algae Eaters

Bristlenose pleco is an incredible algae eater in a freshwater aquarium and can easily clean away algae from glass decorations and driftwood. They receive this name because their foreheads are covered with fleshy branches or tentacles. They can grow six inches in length, although a significant number stays around four inches. They’ll soon outgrow many tanks; because of that, bristlenose plecos will need larger tanks when they reach full size. Juvenile bristlenose pleco is the perfect algae eater as they do not require too much space.

Amano Shrimp

Best Algae Eaters

Caridina multidentata is a clear-brown dwarf shrimp. These are animals that rarely eat black beard algae. Since they are small, you must buy at least four or more to cause a significant response in the algae growth. Amano shrimp will readily breed in your aquarium, but baby shrimp need to be kept in saltwater. For a detailed description of their protection requirements, read the complete species profile on this site.

Cherry Shrimp

Best Algae Eaters

Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a freshwater shrimp. This shrimp type is available in a wide range of colors. Cherry shrimp are excellent Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank. A large group of them could quickly clean small tanks. The hardiest part for keeping this shrimp is picking suited tank mates because many fish view them as food items.

Rosy Barb

Best Algae Eaters

The rosy barb (Pethia conchonius) eats fuzzy hair, algae-like staghorn, and thread algae. This relatively peaceful fish measures 7 cm long and is available in others varieties, like long-fin and albino. As a schooling fish, it is best when kept in a group of at least four individuals.

Ghost Shrimp

Best Algae Eaters

Ghost Shrimp are not as efficient as Cherry or Amano shrimp, but they enjoy eating hair-like algae in reasonable amounts. They are tiny, generally growing to only one inch in length, and bigger fish will eat them. Ghost shrimp are often sold as live fish food. If you want to keep ghost shrimp, you will need to have a place there to hide out from predators. It can be found easily where the Ghost Shrimp get that name, with their almost transparent bodies.

Bamboo Shrimp

Best Algae Eaters

Bamboo shrimp can be found in tropical Southeast Asia and enjoy flowing water in their aquariums. They probably eat fewer algae than Cherry or Amano shrimp, but still, Bamboo shrimp have many potentials as algae eaters.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp

Best Algae Eaters

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp (Caridina dennerli) is going global in its popularity. At 3/8″-1.5′′ maximum, this species has a small size, and the colors are much vivid than the famous Red Cherry Shrimp. They live longer than most freshwater shrimp and reach the ripe old age of two years when they are kept in fine-filtered still water with enough soft aquatic leaves to eat. They also feed on algal and microbial biofilm present in any healthy tank ecosystem means they don’t require additional food for survival. They prefer warm temperatures from 78 to 88 degrees with hard pH, about 8.

False Siamese Algae Eater

Best Algae Eaters

False Siamese algae eaters require tanks of no larger than 30 gallons and prefer a pH within the range of 6.5 and 7.0, with temperatures between 75 and 79°F. It works best for those living in a small community tank where the fish have many algae to eat. It is not a bad thing for them to be given algae tablets and food supplements. These species are also quite peaceful and relatively easy to maintain, so they could be a good choice for novice aquarium hobbyists to help control algae in a new tank.

Chinese algae eater

Best Algae Eaters

Chinese algae eaters are easily maintained and operate well in tanks of 30 Gallon sizes. This animal can grow quite large – up to 10 inches, and they tend to become aggressive as it grows. It would help if you also made a place for animals to hide behind a rock cave or hollow logs. They prefer warm water temperatures, and they require a herbivorous diet. They are Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank and can be kept close by large and semi-aggressive species like cichlids. It can be a lazy eater as it grows, but they feed on different algae kids as young.

Garra (Doctor Fish)

Best Algae Eaters

These freshwater algae-eating fish are very hardy and are seen in lakes, ponds, and streams in all Middle East regions. Although garra’s cleaning of algae full aquariums is excellent, they need always to get a healthy balanced diet. Additional consumption of bloodworms or algae wafers is sure to keep your Garra healthy and happy. Garra prefers to be held in groups; 4 is the absolute minimum of individuals, so the more, the merrier! Garra is also known as the doctor fish in a spa treatment for Central and Eastern Asia. All the while, they’ll gladly take up all the loose cellular matter, including dirt and dust from your skin.

Rabbit Snail

Best Algae Eaters

The rabbit snail (Tylomelania spp.) is one of the best algae eateries around. Its shell shape resembles a corkscrew, capable of growing from up to 4 inches, and their active, curious nature makes them fascinating to observe. All colors of algae can be eaten, and also decayed plant waste. Diversify its diet by offering vegetables and herbivorous fish food.


Best Algae Eaters

Guppies are one of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby. Most Guppy owners never think they are algae eaters once they are acquired. Guppy keepers groups who don’t want their aquarium to turn into infinite hospital maternity. Aquarists often will buy only one female fish or only males. Guppy fish are also prolific breeders and are sometimes bought only as a matter of interest for the looks and temperament of their young rather than for the benefit of other fish.

Ramshorn Snail

Best Algae Eaters

The Ramshorn snails work very well at cleaning out unseen food debris and dead leaves before they can decompose. They have been safely kept with live vegetation without eating them. A small number can breed on the out-of-control scale until becoming a pest. Occasionally, you are forced to bait them with white lettuce to cut down their numbers unless you don’t mind swarms of these tiny snails nibbling on your plants. The snails suffer a terrible reputation because aquarium owners find them eating plant leaves. In reality, they only touch pieces of foliage that have fallen off the plant unless they are in an uncontrolled population explosion.

Sailfin Pleco

Best Algae Eaters

Sailfin Plecos (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps) are one the best algae-eating fish there are. When young, these creatures are usually fed on algae and fish food. As adults, they need up to 75 gallons of clear surface. While not aggressive or territorial, these large plecos do better with equally large tankmates such as Oscars and Severums. As adults, they are also quite clumsy and will knock over plants and disturb gravel as they please, but they are not aggressive. They need algae wafers, vegetables, and tablets to take their nutrients.

Which algae eater would you choose?

There isn’t a one size fits all algae eater. The choice of species is mainly dependent on the type of fish you keep, the tank, the size, the algae that are being eliminated, and many other factors. For any peaceful community tank, there is an excellent range for Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank. However, if you like bigger, aggressive fish, you might be limited, but you still have options. Do you know what species of tank you need? What other type of animal would you keep in an aquarium? We want to learn your story. Tell us in the comment.

Now it’s time to pick your favorite!

I guess there’s something special about it when I watch these animals. Their efforts are kept focussed every time to track down algae consistently. They will wait it out till it gets algae, then they’re going straight back into work. If you have questions about other algae-eating fish or like to learn more about the species we selected, don’t hesitate to contact us via social media. We enjoy speaking to other aquarists and learning about them.

Final thoughts on algae eaters for small tanks

Different kinds of algae usually point to other disfunction of an aquarium’s ecosystem. Some algae, such as red algae, have some toxic qualities, but they are generally considered harmless. Fish, shrimp, and snails could remove algae. Some solutions may be simple. They only require minor adjustments. Sometimes, algae problems can be multi-layered. A tank owner has to experiment with several solutions before the problem can be solved.


In addition to the fish mentioned here, there are still many other aquatic animals that feed on algae. Numerous fish will catch algae; however, they tend to be significantly less efficient than the fish and invertebrates described above. Fortunately, some of the animals in this list can be relatively easily be found in your LFS. If you were thinking about adding Best Algae Eaters For Your Tank, hopefully, this section provided information that would help you choose the right fish.