Why Does My Algae Eater Poop So Much? {What Can I Do About It?}

Do you notice an overload of fish waste in your tank? Are Algae Eaters supposed to poop this much or is there something wrong? In this article, we’ll find out why your Algae Eater poops so much.

Why Does My Algae Eater Poop So Much? Algae Eaters ingest food and pass it through their system very quickly. The cycle of eat and secrete is rapid and normal for Algae Eaters. If you notice white or stringy waste, there could be a constipation or bloating issue. 

How Many Times Should Algae Eaters Poop?

The bio-load of most Algae Eaters is large enough to outweigh the amount of tank cleaning they actually do compared to how much waste they produce. A larger Algae Eater will poop several times a day in large and long amounts.

You can expect to find the fish waste of Algae Eaters throughout the day and night. Watch them for 10-30 minutes and you will likely see some waste production.

You will notice it near plants or on the substrate. Vacuuming the gravel and 2-3 water changes a week between 10-25% will help eliminate the waste. Try to position the filter intake near any spots they frequently visit to relieve themselves.

How Do I Know If My Algae Eater Is Sick?

The waste Algae Eaters produce can help to indicate if they are healthy or sick. A lack of poop means they are bloated or not eating. White stringy poop could indicate illnesses such dropsy or constipation. Look for more signs and symptoms of illness:

  • lack of appetite
  • infrequent or no poop
  • lethargy
  • rapid breathing
  • dullness or discoloration
  • cloudy eyes
  • excessive hiding
  • panicked swimming or darting around
  • gulping for air

Will Algae Eaters Clean My Tank?

The answer to whether or not Algae Eaters clean a tank is ironic. They are welcomed into our tank to canvass the area for detritus and algae, but they leave behind so much waste. The bioload of an Algae Eater should be taken into account, because it’s large, in need of sufficient space and strong filtration.

If you can accept the Algae Eater as simply an aid for algae management, it would be better than relying on it to be a tank cleaner. Reducing their meal portions could leave your Algae Eaters malnourished.

Continue 2-3 feedings a day with vegetables, algae wafers and proteins from bloodworms or brine shrimp to supplement their diet if they’ve done too good of a job eating naturally occurring algae.

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Why Is There So Much Algae Eater Poop?

There are ways to help reduce the buildup of poop, but your Algae Eater isn’t going to stop doing it. They simply digest food faster than most aquatic life.  We have to maintain it with a few solutions outlined below:

  • Perform more water changes
  • Vacuum the gravel
  • Consider a powerhead

More Water Changes

Algae Eaters will probably stop eating during a water change. It spooks many of them. It’s common to see them hide or getting slightly washed out or pale. 2-3 gradual water changes at 10-25% per time will help manage the poop.


The substrate needs a vacuuming. Sandy substrates make the poop more obvious to clean up, but also looks uglier. Dark gravel can camouflage the poop, but you will have to take more time to vacuum without sucking up too much beneficial bacteria or gravel into it.


If you position a powerhead towards the filter, you can help move the waste in the right direction. The filter intake will be able to eliminate it better this way .

How Can I Clean Algae Eater Poop?

Besides using a vacuum or filter, there are further steps you can take to clean the excess poop that Algae Eaters produce. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Substrate Diggers
  • Shaded areas near filter
  • Stargrass

Substrate Diggers

Algae Eaters like Loaches or Corydoras also like to dig into the substrate. They can bring some of the waste to the top. The powerhead, gravel jet or flow from a filter will help to steer the rising waste out of your tank.

Shaded Areas

Rocky caves, decorations or planted areas are routinely where Algae Eaters like to rest and relieve themselves. Create these spaces near the filter’s intake. This way, you are able to get rid of waste easier as it has less distance to travel before getting sucked out.


Many plants are helpful to provide the cover and space for Algae Eaters to poop. Stargrass in particular helps to keep the poop from moving or spreading. The natural design of these plants makes it easier to trap the waste for quicker manual cleanup.


Algae Eaters poop a lot! This is normal and you shouldn’t be too concerned. The opposite holds true with an Algae Eater that isn’t defecating enough due to bloating, illness or starvation.

The amount of food you offer should not be reduced as a solution to reducing the amount of waste they produce. You can get crafty with creating gravel jets out of PVC pipes or positioning the filter intake near their favorite spots to poop.

Managing the waste before it causes ammonia spikes is one of our jobs in this hobby. Your fellow community members and aquarists acknowledge your efforts and wish you and your Algae Eaters the very best of luck.


Thank you for stopping by at HelpUsFish.com for all your informational needs concerning the fish you wish to keep in your aquarium. We have plenty of articles on a wide variety of aquatic life that may also pique your interest. See you again soon!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

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