The best cichlid tank algae eaters will depend on the size of your tank and the species of cichlid you are keeping. There are number of algae eaters per se that fit the bill but we will review these three species Otocinclus
, Bristlenose catfish
, and freshwater snails
. We focus on these because their readily available and they cover a broad spectrum of what works for different sized cichlids.
With that said large freshwater snails make a fantastic addition for purposes of cleaning algae in the aquarium and their very interesting to look at and some natural beauty to the landscape. If you keep smaller cichlids like Apistogramma
than this would work perfectly.
The second choice for a great algae eater for a cichlid tank would be the classic Bristlenose catfish. (link to catfish internal page). And the reason for this is most Bristlenose are very hardy, their simple to keep and don’t get very large relative to the species you are keeping. Besides like the snails, they look great and add interest to the tank. As an alternative to Bristlenose catfish some people prefer Plecostomus catfish also called plecos
These two types of catfish are usually kept with large cichlids because of their resilience and ability to handle being with bigger fish. With that said certain cichlids like African mbuna have been known to damage or even attack Bristlenose cats.
The third choice as an alternative to large snails and catfish are Chinese Algae Eaters which belong to the Genus Gyrinocheilus
, which are also, called sucking loaches. Even though they hold on to fixed objects in the tank thy feed on a wide range of detritus but also algae. Again these fish make great cleaners of tanks but they can be trouble. Chinese Algae Eaters have been known to pick the scales off of cichlids perhaps which may have been older and not as aggressive as say the Wolf cichlids
It makes senses to consider what cichlids your keeping, the potential size they will reach the normal and breeding habits and the size of the aquarium and match this against one of the above options. When you do decide to pick up one of these types of algae eaters access their introduction to the aquarium and note how the fish are responding to it and how it is responding to your fish and attack according. Better safe than sorry. To read more on different algae eaters that what is mentioned here check out this article
Otocinclus Catfish - Fantastic Algae-Eaters!
Whether or not you have an algae problem in your tank, Otocinclus Catfish make a great addition to any aquarium community. Also known as Otto Cats, otos, or dwarf suckermouth catfish, these fish use their sucker-mouths to attack algae on the aquarium glass, plants, and decorations...
- These fish are considered among the best algae-eating fish in the world! They form quite the cleanup crew with their sucker-mouths and their voracious appetite for algae.
- Very peaceful - totally safe to keep with other fish, snails, shrimp, and live plants!
- Otocinclus Catfish are extremely useful in the way they keep your tank glass and plants clean from algae, but they are also very attractive and have very social personalities.
- If algae is not present in the aquarium, their diets can be supplemented with algae wafers or vegetable-based flake food.
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