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Algae-Eating Animals Comparison Table

Last Updated: 4/18/12

This table is by no means complete nor may it be 100% correct but it will give you an idea of which species of algae-eating animal you may want for your aquarium or pond.

Both the likelihood of eating algae and eating plants applies to adult specimens and not to juveniles. Some species propensity to eat algae varies with age such as with most of the algae- eating fish. The species that are most available at the aquarium or pet store are those that the salesperson is most likely to try to sell to you. They also often cost a lot less than the other, less- available species. Do not let a salesperson sell you an animal that is not appropriate for your particular situation. For example, do not put a common plecostomus in a tank under 40 gallons unless you plan to give it a larger home later, or do not put one of the smaller species below in with larger animals that may eat it.

For more information about the animal in question, click on the names that are underlined for pages about those animals.

Algae-Eating Animals

Common Name of Species Scientific Name of Species Likelihood of Eating Algae Types of Algae Eaten Likelihood of Eating or Dislodging Plants Maximum Adult Length Temperament Availability at Most Aquarium Stores Minimum Temperature for Survival
Common Plecostomus Liposarcus sp., Hypostomus sp. High Most attached algal species High 12"+ Great with most fish; may suck on large fish High ~55 degrees F
Twig Catfish Farlowella sp. Moderate to High Most attached algal species Low 6-8" Peaceful Low ~70 degrees F
Bristlenose Pleco Ancistrus sp. Moderate to High Most attached algal species Low 4-8" Peaceful Low to Moderate ~70 degree F
Zebra Pleco Hypancistrus zebra Low (prefers meat) Most attached algal species Low 6" Peaceful Low to Moderate ~70 degrees F
Gold Nugget Pleco Baryancistrus sp.? Moderate Most attached algal species, may eat hair algae Low 6"+ Peaceful Low to Moderate ~70 degrees F
Otto Otocinclus sp. High Most attached algal species Low 1-2" Great with most fish; may be eaten by larger fish; may suck on large fish Moderate ~60 degrees F
Siamese Algae Eater Crossocheilus siamensis High Most attached algal species and sometimes hair algae Low 5-6" Great with most fish Low to Moderate ~70 degrees F
False Siamese Algae Eater Epalzeorhynchos sp.? Moderate to High Most attached algal species Low 5-6" Great with most fish; may chase similar species Low to Moderate ~70 degrees F
Flying Fox Epalzeorhychos kalopterus Low to Moderate Most attached algal species Low 5-6" Great with most fish; may chase similar species Moderate ~70 degrees F
Chinese Algae Eater Gyrinocheilus aymonieri Low as adults; moderate to high as juveniles Most attached algal species Low 11" Varies with individual; some may harass or attack other fish High (most often sold to eat algae) ~65 degrees F
Rosy Barb (maybe also cherry barbs) Barbus conchonius Moderate Hair algae Low to Moderate 3-5" Varies with individual; some may harass other fish High ~50 degrees F
American Flag Fish Jordanella floridae Moderate Hair algae Low 2.5" May harass other fish Low to Moderate ~60 degrees F?
Pingi Logsucker Garra pingi pingi Moderate Unknown Low Unknown May harass other fish Very low ~45 degrees F?
Amano Shrimp Caridina japonica Moderate Most attached but loose algae Low 2" Peaceful Low Unknown
Bumble Bee Shrimp Atydae spp. Moderate Most attached but loose algae Low 1" or less Peaceful Low Unknown
Rainbow Shrimp Unknown Moderate Hair and hairy attached algae Low 1-2" Peaceful Low to Moderate ~60 degrees F
Ghost Shrimp Palaeomonetes spp. Low to Moderate Most attached but loose algae Low 1-2" Peaceful High ~50 degrees F
Wood Shrimp Atyopsis spp. Moderate to High Suspended algae! Low 3" Peaceful Low to Moderate ~70 degrees F
Tadpole (all species) Many species Moderate Most attached and hair algae Low 0.5 to 4" depending on species Peaceful Moderate Near freezing for those tadpoles that naturally overwinter
Apple Snail and Mystery Snail Over a dozen genera! Low to Moderate Most attached algae Moderate to High depending on species 1-6" depending on species Peaceful Moderate to High 50-60 degrees F; varies with species
Ramshorn Snail Many genera Moderate Most attached algae Low to Moderate depending on species 0.2" to 3" depending on species Peaceful Moderate Near freezing for temperate species and about 60 degrees F for tropical species (tropical species are plant eaters)
Trumpet Snail Melanoides tuberculata Moderate Most attached algae Low to Moderate depending on species 0.5" to 1" Peaceful Rarely sold but found on plants for sale 50-60 degrees F
Trapdoor Snail Viviparis malleatus Moderate to High Most attached algae Low 2" Peaceful Moderate Near freezing
Pond Snail Lymnae sp. and Stagnicola spp. Moderate Most attached algae Moderate to High 0.5" to 1" depending on species Peaceful Rarely sold but often found on plants for sale Near freezing


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