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The 8 Best Algae Eaters For Goldfish Tanks

Algae is a fact of life for everyone who has ever owned an aquarium. When it comes to algae, you may feel frustrated pulling your hair out, not keeping it.

As nasty as it looks, it robs the plants of nutrients, sucks up all the oxygen in the water, and creates an overall unpleasant atmosphere in your tank. Some algae treatments can be harmful if not used appropriately, while others are ineffective.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) lists some of the best algae eaters for goldfish tanks, a great way to keep them clean and algae-free. Putting a fish or snail in the role of "verb eater" is a common misconception. 

They then rush to the store, buy one, and put it in the tank, only to discover that it isn't consuming much algae, or worse, it's just not suitable for a home with goldfish.

Algae-eating aquatic organisms that will not upset the delicate ecological balance in your tank are considered here.

How-to-Buy Guide

Fish Tank Algae Eaters: How to Pick the Right Ones

  • What is the volume of your holding tank? In a 15-gallon tank with two goldfish, a snail like Malaysian Trumpet or Nerite may be a good algae-eating addition. You have more alternatives for algae eaters in large tanks, especially ones that are thickly planted. The more fish or snails you can have, the more room you have. Because Hillstream loaches and Otocinclus catfish love to dwell in groups, a big tank may be ideal.
  • Take a look around your tank to see what else is living there. Everything that works well with goldfish may not work as well with algae eaters. It’s important to pick tank mates wisely since some species are more inclined to bully or attack smaller fish or snails than goldfish are. It’s also a good idea to think about the kind of plants you have in your aquarium. If your plants aren’t adequately nourished, most algae eaters won’t consume living ones. There are certain plants that are just too irresistible, even when there is a lot of food around.
  • It’s time to talk about your water parameters. Water hardness, temperature and pH all affect the preferences of algae-eating animals. Algae eaters should be chosen based on how closely their tastes match the average of your tank’s conditions. Aquatic organisms, such fish and invertebrates, have a hard time adjusting to new tank conditions with water that differs greatly from their usual.

How Much Extra Food Do Algae Eaters Require?

Yes! It’s evident that algae eaters will consume algae in your tank, but this isn’t all that’s needed. Algae eaters who are omnivores will need additional proteins and vitamins and minerals like calcium to enhance their diet.

It is still necessary for algae eaters to supplement their diets with additional algae to guarantee that they are getting enough nutrients.

Algae eaters, especially algae-eating fish, are often misunderstood because people assume they don’t need to feed them. The algae eaters normally die a long and agonizing death from malnutrition as a result of this.

As an algae-eating fish, your tank’s algae supply is virtually never enough to keep you going indefinitely.


Were the testimonials of BestForPets (bestforpets.org) helpful to you if you are thinking of using the best algae for goldfish tanks? Nerite snails are the best choice for goldfish tanks as they consume algae and are also the best overall choice for algae eaters in goldfish tanks.

While Corydoras are good algae eaters, they often cost more than other algae-eating goldfish aquariums. Snails like the Malaysian Trumpet are the most cost-effective algae eaters, but you might be reluctant to try them because of their bad image as nuisance snails.


Tropicals Life Freshwater Nerite Snails-Best Overall

  • A moderate pace of growth
  • The maximum dimension is 1 inch.
  • Temperature: 72-78 °F Lifespan: 1-2 years
  • Freshwater reproduction: No

Nerite snails are the greatest all-around algae eaters in goldfish ponds. Snails like these are voracious consumers of algae, but they will not eat live plants in most cases.

You can count on them to devour decaying plant matter and assist clear the tank floor of debris. As long as they are cared for properly, these snails may survive up to two years and reach a maximum length of one inch.

Racing stripes, zebra stripes, and even spiky shells adorn the shells of some nerite snails. Goldfish can’t eat them, so they’re a perfect addition to the aquarium.

You may watch them scurrying around the tank as they go about their business. Consider that Nerite snails are primarily night-time dwellers, therefore it’s not uncommon to observe them sluggish during the day.

You’ll need to keep a careful eye on the water temperature to ensure that it’s neither too hot or too cold for goldfish and Nerites to live comfortably. No matter where they’re found, Nerite snails are capable of reproducing. If their look bothers you, you’ll have to clean them up by hand as they won’t hatch.


  • Algae, detritus, as well as decaying vegetation and animal carcasses
  • The best snails for eating algae
  • Up to two years of life
  • The maximum size is 1 inch.
  • There are a lot of different designs and colors.
  • Goldfish are usually unable to eat anything larger than a grain of rice.


  • Water temperatures in the lower end of the tropical range are ideal for me
  • In the tank, place non-viable eggs on the surface.


Malaysian trumpet snails from One Stop Aquatics are a great value.

  • A moderate pace of growth
  • The maximum dimension is 1 inch.
  • Needs a temperature range of 64-86 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Is able to reproduce in freshwater?

Malaysian Trumpet snails are the greatest goldfish tank algae eaters for the money. Despite their small size, these snails seem like spiral unicorn horns.

They typically have a lifetime of around a year, but with great care, several people have reported living for up to two years. Snails prefer to dig, which makes them ideal for tanks with soft substrates, such as sand, that need to be turned.

It’s not only algae that MTS likes to eat; they’ll also devour dead and decaying plants, as well as any other food you give them. If you seldom see your MTS at night, you’re not alone.

The reputation of these snails as “pest snails” is based on the fact that they reproduce asexually. Make sure you’re not overfeeding your tank if you want to avoid a population explosion. They will often only reproduce if there is food available.


  • Algae, discarded food, proteins, and dead and dying plants are all good sources of food for fish.
  • Can survive for up to two years if given proper medical attention.
  • The maximum size is 1 inch.
  • Keeps substrates oriented properly.
  • Self-regulate their numbers dependent on the abundance of food in their environment


  • Reproduction without the involvement of a partner is known as


Odyssea Aquarium Panda Corydoras – The Best Option Available

  • A sluggish rate of expansion
  • Five-inch maximum size
  • 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for this product.
  • In freshwater: Definitely

The Corydora catfish is the top choice for goldfish aquariums when it comes to algae eaters. With appropriate care, these long-lived fish can grow up to 2.5 inches in length and can live for up to five years.

It is possible to keep them in a goldfish tank with water temps as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These fish, like goldfish, can survive in conditions with low levels of oxygen because they can breathe the air in a typical living room.

Among the many types of Cory cats are the albino and “panda” versions. As omnivores, they need extra food to keep their tanks clean, although they are the finest fish for eating algae. If the eggs and hatchlings can survive the goldfish in the tank, you can maintain a breeding population.

Many Corydoras are collected in the wild, which can make it difficult for them to adapt to their new home tank. Because Corys are more expensive than the ordinary pet store fish, you should budget accordingly if you want to purchase one.


  • The best fish for eating algae
  • You can get protein from algae and detritus.
  • A wide range of temperatures
  • capable of breathing the air that surrounds them
  • A wide range of options
  • Easily re-create


  • Premium price
  • Wild-caught fish may have a difficult time adapting to aquariums at home.


Mix Color Ramshorn Snails by Kazen Aquatic

  • Growth is fast:
  • The maximum dimension is 1 inch.
  • One year’s worth of use at 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The answer to this question is yes.

They are a resilient aquatic snail that can thrive in aquariums and ponds, making them popular pets. The ramshorn-shaped shells of these snails, which come in a variety of hues, are what give them their common name.

They are excellent algae feeders and detritivores, and are generally less than an inch in diameter.

Like Malaysian Trumpet snails, these snails breed asexually and easily. Snails like ramshorn snails are commonly seen on plants as hitchhikers. A wide temperature range makes them great tank mates for goldfish.

Known as “pest snails,” these snails breed quickly and achieve sexual maturity within two months after being born, making them a nuisance. Known for their spiral-shaped egg clutches, they lay them on almost any surface in the tank and are egg-layers.


  • Consume algae and other waste products.
  • Suitable for aquariums and ponds.
  • There are a wide variety of hues to choose from.
  • Smaller than an inch is the norm.
  • Easily re-created
  • Adaptable to a wide variety of temperatures


  • Produce without the aid of sex
  • Become sexually mature quickly
  • Eggs can be laid on the tank’s surfaces.


Shop 3 Striped Hillstream Loaches at Polar Bear’s Pet Shop

  • Growth rate: moderate to slow
  • Dimensions are limited to no more than three inches.
  • The ideal temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (°F).
  • About 8 to 10 years
  • The answer to this question is yes.

Keeping the Hillstream loach in your aquarium will give it a distinct personality. Like goldfish, they enjoy some current, but it doesn’t have to be particularly powerful. These odd-looking fish may grow to a length of three inches, and they’ve been known to live up to ten years or more when given proper care.

Breeding a loach is one of the simplest tasks in the fish world. This species is an egg-layer, and they use the male’s egg-laying pit to reproduce, even when goldfish are present.

Algae and dead plant debris are the bulk of their food, however they do require some protein supplementation in the form of bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and other aquatic proteins.

Keeping Hillstream loaches in an aquarium with goldfish that will not annoy or chase them is a must. They cost a lot of money and are often hard to come by.


  • Goldfish-like conditions in the tank
  • A maximum length of three inches
  • If properly cared for, it may survive up to ten years.
  • Easy to breed, this is one of the most common loaches.
  • Keep goldfish away from egg-laying holes where they are unlikely to take eggs


  • Require protein supplements to be taken orally.
  • Shy and may not be able to handle a school of raucous goldfish
  • It’s worth it
  • To locate may be a challenge.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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