Do I need an Algae Eater?

When you see algae forming in your aquarium, your first thought might be, "Do I need an algae eater". Chances are you probably don't. There are lots of ways to control algae without introducing another fish into your tank. First, though, let's talk a bit about algae itself:

Algae is common.  Most fish tanks get some at some point. You'll notice it forming on your tank, on rocks or driftwood, or even floating in your tank. If left unchecked it can cause your water to turn green or brown and can cause an unpleasant smell too. 

Before you start searching for "algae eaters" on our website though, try these other steps: 

1. Get a higher quality filter and make sure to keep it clean. Clean water conditions are a great way to avoid excess algae.

2. Adjust your fish feeding schedule and the amount of food you're giving them. Algae forms when there is too much leftover food and waste in your tank.

3. Add more live plants! These live plants will absorb excess waste in your tank and keep algae from feeding off of it. 

4. Use less light. Try adjusting your lighting or turning your tank lights off for a few hours at night to keep the algae from growing. 

If you still have an abundance of algae in your tank, it may be time to consider an algae eater. If you have asked the question, "Do I need an algae eater" and decided the answer is YES, consider the following:

  • What type of algae is growing? Is it hair algae? Green surface algae? Red or black? Most algae eaters only eat one or two types of algae, so it's important to know what type of algae you need it to consume.
  • What size is your tank? You'll need a fish that isn't too big for the space.
  • What are your tank conditions? 
  • Do you have enough algae to support it? Most algae eaters will need a supplementary diet. Just remember that you're adding another fish, which will create waste, which is what led to the algae in the first place. So making sure that you have plenty of algae for it to eat is crucial. 
  • Consider the other fish in your tank.  First, make sure the algae eater is compatible with those fish. Next, are any of these fish algae eaters too? There are many that will munch on algae from time to time including: mollies, platys, guppies, gourami, and barbs. 

If you'd like to browse our algae eaters (not plecos), follow this link.

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