Aquarium Algae Eaters

Aquarium algae eaters are the best edition to a planted tank. They do keep algae at bay and are very interesting to watch. They play a big roll in the Eco system and will lead to a perfectly balanced nature aquarium.


Malaysian Trumpet snail

Melanoides tuberculata
This, not longer than 3 cm, snail is the best snail edition to a planted tank especially! They will eat algae, dead plant material, leftover food and will not eat your plants. The main reason they are kept in planted tanks is for their ability to aerate the gravel since they spend most of their time digging through the substrate. They will come out of the gravel at night. If you are concerned that your snails are gone or dead, please try to focus on the gravel surface for a while and you will see at certain places that your gravel is moving. That's the snail digging its way through. All snails need alkaline waters to rebuild their shells. Loaches and Cichlids will eat snails. This snail is a good indicator for bad water quality. If something is wrong they will all head up towards the surface over the aquarium glass.

Photo by Dusko Bojic

Ramshorn snail

Planorbis corneus/rubrum
This snail is a good edition to planted tanks since it will not attack plants. It's been known though that in situations where no other food is available, it will munch on Hygrophila spp. This snail grows to 2cm. Ramshorn can be red or brown. Their main diet is based on algae that coats the plants, aquarium glass and decorations. They will also eat dead plant material, food leftovers and fish eggs. The bigger Columbian Ramshorn is a good idea for a non-planted tank overrun with algae but in planted tanks will feed on plants. All snails will do better in alkaline waters since their shells tend to dissolve in acidic waters that lack calcium. Snails will be eaten by most Loaches and Cichlids.

Photo by Dusko Bojic

Neritina sp. zebra snail

Neritina natalensis
This snail is one of the most beautiful snails available in aquarium trade these days. It is not just the beauty of its zebra patterns that makes it so desirable but its appetite for algae. It is known that Zebra Neritina eats the, hard to clean, Green Spot algae and the carpet like forming, Green Beard algae. This snail will not do well in pH lower then 7 since it needs alkaline (lime) conditions to keep its shell healthy. Loaches and Cichlidae will eat this snail. It grows to approx. 3 cm. Cover the tank, since Neritina is known for their ability to leave the tank :-) (documented by several German aquarists).

Photo by Dusko Bojic

Ancistrus - Bristlenose pleco

One of the most popular algae eaters, Ancistrus is widely available. It needs constant supply of green foods. It is good to feed it with blanched vegetables and sinking algae tablets. Live plants are not beneficial. Even though, in general, it will not harm plants, its been known that in case of insufficient green foods it will eat the Sword plant and probably other softer leaved plants. This fish is nocturnal and needs shelters and dark substrate to feel safe. It will grow up to 16 cm. Bristlenose is known to be peaceful and is compatible with many fish but the predatory ones. The water should be highly oxygenated with a moderate current.
Photo by Dusko Bojic