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.
|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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