Algae are a prevalent problem with freshwater aquariums. Aquarium owners are often desperate about getting rid of it because it could mess up the tank and make it unhealthy for the fish. Although algae can be useful in small quantity, it poses a severe problem when it is left to overgrow.
Algae eaters also called cleanup crew. They got the name because of their exclusive ability to feed on algae and keep the tank clean. The best algae eaters suitable for your freshwater aquariums include Chinese algae eater, Siamese algae eater, Otocinclus Catfish, Twig Catfish, Whiptail Catfish, Bristlenose pleco, Mollies, freshwater snails, as well as algae hungry freshwater shrimps.
Most of these algae munchers exclusively feed on natural plant or added as part of their natural diet. Some of the regularly employed algae users only feed on specific algae types, while others are random eaters. It would be best if you also were careful about which one to add to your tank because some of them feed on other aquarium plants as well.
Best Algae Eaters For Cold Water Aquariums
Most algae eaters see algae as food either exclusively or as supplements. However, they all give similar results of getting rid of the algae without hurting the native members of the tank. Here is a list of algae eaters that are suitable for your cold water aquarium.
Siamese Algae Water Eater
Siamese Algae Water Eater is known as Crossocheilus oblongus among the community. They are one of the best algae eaters you can have in your tank because they are not selective about the types of algae they can feed on. Likewise, they are an excellent addition to your tank because they are peaceful and relatively easy to care for and maintained. They prefer an environmental pH within the range of 6.5-7.0, as well as a temperature range of 75-79°C.
Whiptail catfish is scientifically known as Rineloricaria sp. This species of fish can grow up to 6 inches in length, so they are often suitable for relatively bigger tanks. They have a peaceful temperament, thus are usually compatible with most other aquarium fishes. They are also easy to care for and can be fascinating with their neutral colours. This fish prefers a pH between 6.5-7 and a temperature range of 73-79°C.
Twig Catfish is another member of the Catfish family that derives pleasure in feeding on algae. The fish is scientifically known as Rineloricaria Lanceolate and has long slim bodies. They can grow up to 4 inches in length; therefore, they are suitable for moderate and even small tanks. This fish is peaceful and can cope with other friendly members like them in the same tank. More aggressive tank members like cichlids, however, bully them.
Chinese Algae Eater
the scientific name given to Chinese Algae Eater is Gyrinocheilous Aymonieri. The fish can grow up to 10 inches in length, thereby making it more preferable for larger tanks. They are, however, easy to care for, but they can grow increasingly aggressive as they grow. This means you should be careful when keeping them with peaceful or more delicate species of fish. They thrive better at pH of 6.8-7.4.
Otocinclus Catfish scientifically known as Otocinclus Sp is one of the smallest aquarium eaters we have on this list. They appear physically close to the Chinese algae eater, but they are relatively more peaceful. They are easy to care for and do not alter the maintenance cycle of your tank. These fish are specifically efficient in getting rid of brown algae better than most other algae eaters. They generally prefer a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.
Bristlenose Plenco is also commonly known as Bristlenose catfish, and scientifically as Ancistrus Temminckii. They exclusive for the whisker-like projection on its snout, hence its name. They grow to an average size of about 5 inches, and they are relatively peaceful. Likewise, Bristlenose Plenco can cope with a range of tank conditions but might find it hard to put up with aggressive tank mates. They prefer to feed on green spot algae, and prefer pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
Mollies, scientifically known as Poecilia Sphenops appears on this list as a chief representative of the livebearers. Even though they are not greedy algae eaters, they can still feed on algae from time to time, especially when they are confronted with food scarcity. They grow up to 2-4 inches in length and prefer pH of 7.5-8.5. Aside from mollies, you can also consider other livebearers like platies and swordtails.
Algae Eating Snails
Most people think about snails as a nuisance in fish tanks. While this is true for some species, others can render valuable benefits to your tank. They can help you clean up your tank by selectively feeding on algae without tampering with the aquarium plants. The best algae eating snails are Nerite snail, Ramshorn snail, Mystery apple snail, and rabbit snail.
Things To Consider Before Choosing An Algae Eater For Your Tank
There are several things to consider before deciding on which algae eater is best for your freshwater aquarium. The first thing you need to identify the type of algae you have in your tank. If you have only one particular algae type, you can go for an algae eater that feed specifically on that algae type.
Also, you must consider factors like the size of the aquarium, type of aquarium, care and maintenance, compatibility with native tank member, as well as water parameters.
If proper care is not taken, algae can constitute a lot of nuisance in freshwater aquariums. Excessive growth of algae in the aquarium can become a threat to the health of the fish. Experts have identified the use of hungry algae eaters as a better way of getting rid of algae in freshwater aquariums rather than manual removal.
However, it would be best if you seriously considered all factors before you decide on the algae eater to introduce to your aquarium.