Do Endlers Eat Plants Or Algae? {8 Ways to Stop Them From Messing With Your Plants}

Are you wondering if your Endler’s Livebearers will eat algae or tear and munch the leaves off your plants? Should you stop it or is this their normal behavior? In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of Endler’s Livebearers eating plants and algae.

Do Endlers Eat Plants Or Algae? Yes. The shallow streams in Northern South America where Endler’s Livebearers originate contains plant matter and algae that they consume regularly alongside insects and larvae. Your Endlers could be consuming algae off plants, but if they are tearing apart your plants, they might be more concerns about stress or malnutrition. .

Are My Endler’s Eating My Plants or Algae?

Your endlers are omnivores that are used to eating plant debris or algae in shallow streams in their native habitat. Snails, shrimp, catfish or other algae eaters in your tank help to keep the bottom of the tank or the tank glass clear of algae. What about the algae that grows on plants?

Long hairs, unsightly brown gunk and difficult to clean algae that grows on plants can be munched on by your endlers. Even if you are feeding your endlers regularly, these active swimmers will enjoy nibbling on bits of algae off your plants.

If they are tearing the leaves off plants or rasping on them, you could try to stop it by adding more leafy greens and vary their diet to introduce more vegetables. If your endlers are lacking vegetation in their diet or feeling stressed, they may get more aggressive with your plants.

Which Plants Are Best For Endler Tanks?

Once your endlers start eating your plants, it’s challenging to get them to stop. Your best choice is to have fast growing plants that are durable to withstand this onslaught of nibbling or feasting.

  • Java Moss
  • Flame Moss
  • Anacharis Elodea Densa
  • Water Sprite 
  • Water Wisteria
  • Java Fern 
  • Amazon Sword

Some of the plants on this list grow fast, others are durable and most will remain untouched by well fed endlers who might only wish to attack the algae growth on them.

How Do I Stop My Endlers From Eating My Plants?

A plant such as a Hygro Corymbosa could get decimated by your endlers. Once they get curious or consume it indirectly on their quest to attack algae growth on the plant, they may develop a taste for it. Sometimes you will see your endlers tearing the leaves into pieces.

Try the following 8 options to save your plants from being torn up or eaten by your endlers:

  1. durable or fast growing plants
  2. vegetables and leafy greens
  3. variety of proteins
  4. algae wafers
  5. increase feedings
  6. improve water quality
  7. reduce aggression
  8. redecorate

1. Durable Plants

Java fern, Amazon Sword and plenty of other plants would be better than Hygro Corymbosa. Plant the species that are fast growing or more durable.

2. Vegetables And Leafy Greens

Place vegetables in the tank and pick up the leftovers 1-3 hours later. Include the following substitutes for plants in order to save what you spent time and effort planting and growing:

  • romaine lettuce
  • kale
  • spinach 
  • broccoli
  • zucchini 
  • cucumber
  • shelled peas
  • cabbage

Experiment with cutting up the portions into bite sizes or leaving a large spinach or kale leaf in the tank for your endlers to nibble on. Once they’ve developed the habit of tearing up plants and leaves, you can try to redirect their attention on these options above.

3. Meaty Proteins

  • brine shrimp
  • meaty pellets and flakes
  • bloodworms
  • larvae
  • daphnia

The listed suggestions are packed with protein that satiates and fills up your endlers more than any plant could. You may have underfed your endlers who are getting stressed at the lack of food and algae. Instead of directing their focus on plants, they will digest their protein rich meal and go back to socializing or mating.

4. Algae Wafers

Endlers are used to eating algae. They can pick off the hardest to clean algae off plants better than a snail or catfish in most cases. Offering crushed up algae wafers will satisfy their needs and may save your plants from being shredded.

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5. Increase Feedings

How often do you feed your endlers? 1-2 times a day? Every other day? There is no set rule on how often to feed these fish who always seem to be hungry. Experiment with smaller portions more often throughout the day to keep their focus on the next meal instead of tearing up or munching on plants.

6. Water Quality

If the water parameters are off, you endlers may behave erratically. They may cause damage to your plants or dart around aimlessly. Keep the water quality to their liking to calm them down if they are acting strange. They shouldn’t be actively trying to destroy your plants.

7. Reduce Aggression

Stress, bullying or establishing the pecking order for your endlers could lead to aggression. During this time, your plants could suffer collateral damage.

8. Redecorate

Move around your plants and decorations for a fresh restart. Your endlers may adjust to a new setting and forget their interest in tearing up a plant that used to be in their favorite location.

Do Endlers Eat Algae?

Absolutely. You may not have purchased endlers with the intent of making them algae cleaners for your tank, but they may prove to be worthy at cleaning bits of these unwanted intrusions off your plants.

This doesn’t mean that you can expect all your endlers to eat your algae. Some aquarists attest that they never see their endlers doing any such thing. If an endler has adjusted to your tank’s feeding schedule and enjoys the variety you are offering, they may leave the algae alone.

Which Types Of Algae Do Endlers Eat?

Endlers are seen eating or nibbling the hard to reach algae on parts of your tank that your snails, shrimp, otos or plecos may not get to. They’ll find it on decorations, rocks and driftwood, but they may focus on the worst, grossest looking algae on sections of plants that may have remained there for too long.

The following algae may end up being enjoyed as a snack for your endlers:

  • Brown algae
  • Hair algae
  • Diatoms
  • Black Beard algae

They may or may not prefer all of the types listed above, but it depends on what is growing off your plants. Endlers usually don’t attack the following types of algae below:

  • Staghorn algae
  • Green spot algae
  • Blue green algae 


We hope that your plants remain hardy, healthy and durable if your endlers decide to focus their attention on them. More often than not, they are looking for algae growing off the plants and helping you to keep the tank clean. Offer more varieties of vegetables and lower stress levels to keep your endlers nourished and healthy as well.


Thanks for visiting and we hope to see you again for another article on Endler’s Livebearers or any other marine life that interests you. 

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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