item: 4032049



Available only at select locations

not available for online purchase. please check availability at other stores.
Available in-store only at
Mountain View
2440 E Charleston Rd
Call 650-968-1034 to check availability
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product highlights

  • Diet: Algae Wafers, Fresh Vegetables
  • Maximum size: 2"
  • Water temperature: 72-79° F
  • Swimming level: Bottom
  • Experience level: Intermediate
  • Tank Setup: 10+ gallons, lightly planted
Note: Pet availability is seasonal. State and local regulations may vary. Pricing may vary by store location. PetSmart stores cannot match the price below for this pet. Ask a store associate for details.

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.

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.

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.

Vet Assured™ Promise
All pets purchased at PetSmart are raised under our exclusive Vet Assured program and come with a 14-day satisfaction guarantee. Vet Assured is a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to improve the health and well-being of our pets. The program sets standards for the care of our pets by our live animal partners and store associates and establishes strict standards for the monitoring and prevention of common illnesses found in pets. PetSmart makes a significant investment in the care of our pets and it is apparent in the quality and comfort of the pets in our stores. However, if your pet becomes ill during this initial 14-day period, or if you're not satisfied with your pet for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price. Please keep your sales receipt and return the pet to the store where it was purchased if needed.

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Otocinclus is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 114.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Perfect Algae Eater A 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.
Date published: 2013-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING LITTLE GUY!!!! I have had this little octo named octy. He is such a great cleaner and is so cute. He gets along with my guppys and mollies which are in a partly dense 10 gallon tank. He should only get to about 2inch. So he is a great little guy for the smaller tanks and the smaller fish. Did I mention this little guy alone can keep the tank clean and in shape very quickly. I might go out and get some more. Just 1 at the least. Great for begginers as well. THANK THE LORD FOR THIS FISH!!!!
Date published: 2013-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Algae Eaters EVER!!! I have a 29 gallon freshwater aquarium that had a huge algae bloom about a week ago. I bought 2 of these little guys 4 days ago, and yesterday, I could not see any algae!! In just 3 days, they ate all of the algae! Now that there is no algae for them to eat, I feed them Hikari Algae Wafers and it takes a little while, but eventually they find it and just sit on it and feast! Also, these fish don't get big like other algae eaters, so they fit in most tanks and they don't take up nearly as much space. Additionally, they are very peaceful and don't get bullied at all from other bigger fish. Overall, fantastic addition to any peaceful community aquarium. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with an algae problem. Just make sure you have a back-up food supply for when the live algae is all gone!
Date published: 2014-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got one of these yesterday since my filter stopped working (don't worry, my fish are fine), and after making sure the water temperature was the same in the tank and bag, I let him into the tank. He stuck to the side of the aquarium and started eating. I saw him wiggling, and moving up and down. Wherever his mouth touches the tank, the algae is gone from that part of it! He's just a baby, but overnight he ate 1/8 of the existing algae in the tank! I'm getting another soon! My Betta was a little curious, but Bubble isn't very aggressive (for whatever reason), and just swam after looking at him (Stripe) around 3 or 4 times. Petsmart, Keep on carrying these guys! I'd totally recommend these little guys to anyone!
Date published: 2014-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oto's are the best! For small size tanks that need algae help, these are the best! Too many people try and shove plecos in a tank refusing to believe they will get big when these little guys are far better for the job. Love em!
Date published: 2014-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great choice! I think that people with algae and overgrowth problems will be happy with this fish. it cleans well but you probably need a bunch to help with a ten gallon. also with these fish they disappear easily. i don't know if its my dog or just me, but approximately 2 fish have completely disappeared on me, and when i say completely i mean there was no carcass and i checked the filter and no poor soul had been sucked up there. these fish are really nice and are very active if you do some water movement they will detach and check out another spot on the tank walls. if you have a ten gallon and not enough space for a plecto, then i would recommend these fish.
Date published: 2013-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Otocinclus This is the first time I have bought otos and I did some research before I bought them. I just purchased 5 today for my 29 and 10 gallon planted aquariums. I put 2 in my 10 gal and 3 in my 29 gal. I've been having a problem with algae and had considered getting plecos at first but the problem with plecos is they get too big and I had to rehome my last one that had grown to be 8 inches in length. The otos are so cute and very entertaining to watch!! They started eating the algae off my sword plants as soon as they got out of the bag and they are working on the algae on the back glass of my 29 gal aquarium. I definitely recommend these to anyone--they are very active, do a great job handling the algae and they stay small!! Very happy with these fish!!
Date published: 2014-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely fish! I expected them to be much more difficult to care for, as i have heard they can be finicky. But I have had my 2 for over 6 months and they are very nice. I wouldn't get any unless you have an algae problem in your tank, however. Sometimes i don't see them for days at a time, but they come out every now and then to eat the algae. If you don't have enough algae to feed them, they also love boiled spinach / lettuce :) Great fish for a 10 + gallon tank.
Date published: 2013-04-09
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I was wondering if i could possibly have these fish in with just one beta. i have a 10 gallon and i was thinking about getting three of theses algae eaters. Im scared there wont be enough algae so i was also thinking about purchasing Christmas moss also

Asked by: Chelsey513
Yes otos can be kept with a beta. Beta are carnivorous top feeders and feed on pellets, blood worms, etc. The oto is a herbivore and doesn't eat the same things as a beta. I have 2 oto a Siamese algae eater and a beta in a 20 gal and they all get along just fine. 10 gal is the recommended minimum tank size so as long as you supplement their feeding if you don't think they're getting enough then they should live a happy life.
Answered by: jbolinger
Date published: 2017-12-29

excuse me i have a 4 gallon tank and i have a algae problem i have heard that otocinclus catfish are good betta tank mates and eat algae is that true

Asked by: slenderlyn12
Yes, otocincules is a good tank mate for a Betta, because they are bottom dwelling and doesn’t usually eat betta food so it should have no compitition. They do eat algae and keeps your tank very clean. However keep in mind they should be in bigger tanks, but that tank should be okay. You cannot feed them regular fish food, you should give them a half or full algae wafer every 2 or 3 days. Otherwise with that small of a tank they might starve. Best wishes. A little Birdie.
Answered by: A Little Birdie
Date published: 2017-10-14

Sorry to bother anyone, but does anyone know of some Coldwater algae eaters? I was hoping for them to stay at a minimum size of 5" if possible. If you know of any, do you know where I could possibly find them? Thank you

Asked by: AxiesAllTheWay
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