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Aptly named, algae eaters are often placed in large aquariums to help keep algae from overgrowing. These bottom-swimming fish feed on green algae and vegetable matter, moving along the surfaces of your aquarium scraping green algae with their
sucker mouths. They also eat all kinds of commercial flake and pellet foods, but must get sufficient algae and vegetable matter, such as fresh zucchini, romaine lettuce, spinach or spirulina pellets.
You will see your algae eater swimming at the bottom of your aquarium. They will also hang from plants and the aquarium walls, using their
sucker mouths for attachment. To create a beautiful aquarium environment, be sure to add some middle and top swimmers as well. Ask a PetSmart associate to help you choose.
Things to remember
Frequent feedings For optimum health, feed your algae eaters as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of a vegetable treat or specialty food. Remove uneaten fresh vegetables after four hours.
Adding fish Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.
Unique gill opening Algae eaters have a special opening on their gills so they can breathe without loosening their grip on a rock or other surface.
Aquarium Minimum aquarium size should be 10 gallons or larger. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.
Décor Decorate their aquarium with hiding places such as roots, driftwood and rockwork. Also include plants to provide grazing surfaces.
Fish compatibility Algae eaters should not be kept by beginners or in a community aquarium with delicate fish. As adults, they can be aggressive to other
tank mates and should be housed with large, tough fish or as a single species in the aquarium.
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Rated 5 out of
The Perfect Algae EaterA great algae eater. Small, calm and friendly, will not eat shrimp or other small crustaceans so you can keep them in the same tank (ghost shrimp, red cherry shrimp, gammarus shrimp (scuds), daphnia (water fleas), copepods, moina, fairy shrimp, etc.) ... the Chinese Algae Eater is aggressive and grows to be rather large and doesn't eat so much algae. The ordinary Pleco hides during the day and grows huge and doesn't eat so much algae. The Siamese Algae Eater is hard to find and easily confused with the "false" Siamese Algae Eater and the Flying Fox. So the Otto is a nice alternative. (Get a Bristle Nosed Pleco too if you can.)
It is normal for the Otocinclus to get a pudgy body shortly after you buy it if you have a well planted tank with invisible algae and organisms stuck to surfaces that the Ottos will eat.