To watch a bright and sparking aquarium as a hobby is overwhelming. The tank should balance the natural ecosystem as a replicate. The setting up of an aquarium comes with many mandatory responsibilities. Algae is an issue in a freshwater tank. The majority of fish tanks develop algae. Some growth of algae is healthy for the tank. If algae thrive rapidly it mustn't take over the tank.

Algae are plain water plants. These grow in places that have uneaten food or waste. Varying varieties of algae grow in such places. A few algae are free-floating, and others are a filmy layer on the sides of the tank, rocks, and other features of the tank. The biggest algae appear as grass-like or seaweed-like structures. A small quantity of algae is natural. It's a headache if algae growth goes out of control.  If not controlled it ends up with strong smells, turbid green, or brown water. This can affect the health of the other fish. So, an algae eater must be introduced in the tank. 

Siamese Algae Eater Image 2

What To Know Before Choosing Algae Eater For Your Aquarium?

Algae eaters are fish species or invertebrates like snail or shrimp which feed on algae. Specific types of algae are eaten by some while others eat multiple different types of algae. This clean-up crew as they are also called can be solely or partly has algae as their natural diet.

Fortunately, the majority of the commercial algae-eaters blossom in a wide range of water criteria. If water quality is maintained all you need to aim at is that varying personalities of fish mesh together.

Choosing The Right Algae Eater

Contemplate the variety of algae fish you require for the tank. Choose a species known to eat that type of algae. This way you will get the best results. The algae eater fish should be compatible with the fish in the tank. It should not get aggressive about territorial capture. The size of the tank is another point of consideration. A large tank will need several algae eaters to bring down its existence. Keep the characteristics like water quality, temperature, tank size, and pH level at the optimum level. Acrylic aquariums are not suitable for large plecos as they are likely to scratch the tank.

Apart from existing factors in the tank, other factors should be considered before bringing in an algae eater.

  • Be aware of the type of algae in the tank. This will decide the breed of the algae eater.
  • Consider the activity and aggressive personality of tank mates. Think if they can live together.
  • The oxygen levels in the tank and the demand of the algae eater should be compatible.
  • A portion of the algae eater prefers lots of water current while others do not. The current rate should not be stressful for the algae eater.
  • The density of foliage and hardscape should also be maintained accordingly.
  • If the tank has several algae problems, introduce different types of algae eaters in the tank.

Adding Algae Eaters To Your Aquarium

Buy an algae eater. Once home keep the algae eater still inside the bag in the tank. Leave for 15 minutes so that the algae eater gets accustomed to the water temperature. Through the use of net transfer the algae eater into the tank. At a time only three algae eaters can be added to the aquarium. Avoid adding stale water to the aquarium. Your filter should be able to stock the changes. The chemical balance inside the tank will alter with every new fish you add. Inspect the aquarium's pH, nitrite, ammonia, and nitrate levels routinely. Some pet shops offer free water testing. Set up the aquarium one day before adding fish.

The dimensions of the aquarium will vary with the number of fish and their size. If your fish happens to be 6 inches long it will require a 20-gallon tank. The largest algae eaters' requirement is the 75-gallon tank. Place the aquarium close to the PowerPoint and in a low-traffic zone distant from direct sunlight and drafts. The aquarium base should be very stable. Water weighs 8 pounds for every gallon.

Layer the gravel for 3 inches on the bottom of the tank. Wash the gravel before placing it in the tank. Supply the tank till halfway with de-chlorinated water. Place thermometer and other required equipment. Decorate the tank through plants, furniture, rocks, etc. Fill the remaining tank with de-chlorinated water.

Siamese Algae Eater Image 1

The filtration should be completed 3-5 times an hour. Read and follow the guidelines in the manual. Pick the right set-up of the filter. Scrutinize the temperature required for an algae eater before you put it in the tank. Select a heater with 5 watts of power for every gallon of water in the tank. A bigger tank will need a heater at both ends.

Delay all activities for 15 minutes before turning on the heater. Place the heater near the filter for the distribution of warm water.

Keep the filter and hood light functioning for 24 hours daily. Inspect the water temperature and adjust the heater accordingly.

What To Do After Adding Algae Eaters To Your Aquarium?

Keep track of the hygiene schedule. Daily check filter, temperature, and other features of the tank. Water check should be done once a week. Inspect the water every 2-4 weeks. Need be change 10-25 % of water. Put in new inhabitants in the tank slowly. Limit the algae eaters as they mature.

What Are The Ways To Keep Aquarium Clean Of Algae?

There are several methods to control algae in the tank. One method is through algae eating fish. The tank should be of enough size to accommodate one more fish of different species for algae control. Other methods include -

  • Fit the tank with good quality filter for algae removal from water. If the filter is kept clean it will work in its best capacity.
  • Fix fish feeding schedules and amounts so uneaten food does not collect in the tank.
  • Fix live plants in the fish tank. It will create competition for the consumption of waste food and nutrients among them.
  • Maintain proper hygiene through water change, wiping the glass, vacuuming gravel to minimize algae.
  • Tank lights should be switched off for many hours at night so algae are prevented from photosynthesizing. Less light leads to fewer algae.

The best remedy for algae trouble is to keep nitrate levels under check. The light exposure in the tank should be maintained. Regular water change keeps the algae under control. Make sure the water tank is out of sunlight. The lights in the tank should be around six hours per day.

In case too many algae grow in the tank, it can be dangerous for fish that don't eat it. People often wonder if two algae-eating different species reside together in the tank. Algae eaters thrive well with other freshwater fish. Once mature algae eating fish detest the same species of fish. This is because they are territorial around each other. Algae eater or algivore is a name given to several bottom-dwelling or algae-eating species.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered some of the general queries here.

Do I Need To Feed My Algae Eater?

Some species of algae eaters need more care than others mostly for supplemental feeding. In case your tank is making enough algae you can rest in peace. If not some type of vegetables and supplements need to be added to the tank.

What To Feed To My Algae Eater?

Algae eaters are particular creatures that grow on the food of algae. All fish will not eat all varieties of algae. You should know the variety of algae to be feed to different species. The algae eaters are snails, shrimp, clams, and specific fish like catfish and plecos. Alter the tank conditions for the suitability of the algae eater.

In case the tank is producing a large number of algae then no supplements need to be added. If the algae are not enough then some variety of vegetables or algae wafers spirulina pellets, algae discs, and pellets need to be added to the tank. Algae eating fish are herbivorous and prefer to eat plant foods.  Give them sometimes fresh vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, or kale. Raw vegetables should be placed close to the bottom of the aquarium. 

Algae eaters' movement is along the sides as well as the bottom of the aquarium. They scrape algae through their sucker mouths. Most of the algae-eating fish prefer to eat soft hair algae and a small section goes for strand algae.

What Do Algae Eaters Eat When There Are No Algae?

Once the aquarium is free from algae the fish requires to be fed with a lot of extra food to supplement the diet such as blanched vegetables.

Do Algae Eaters Clean Fish Tanks?

Algae eaters eat a lot of algae. Algae grow rapidly and algae eaters consume a lot of it. Place a high-quality filter to remove an excess of algae from the water.

Do Algae Eaters Really Help?

Not all types of algae eaters eat all varieties of algae. Pick the best type of algae eater for your tank. Algae eater consumes the algae and control flatworm population. They eat the remaining detritus of the tank. A planted tank is good for them; they do not damage plants while eating algae.