Best 16 Fish That Eat Algae In Ponds (2023)

Ensuring that you have plenty of algae-eating fish in your pond can help drastically control algae growth. This method of algae control is both cost effective and extremely effective! Read on to find out which fish are known for eating algae in ponds so you buy the best algae eaters for your pond!

Ordinary Pleco

The common pleco is one of the most common algae eaters for ponds. They are known to eat a large number of filamentous algae.

In order for your pleco to get your algae problem under control, it's important to pay attention to their size and how much you feed them. Larger plecos tend to eat more. However, if you give them too much fish food, they will not be hungry for algae. You want to invest in large plecos and then feed them only half the recommended amount of food to encourage them to eat more algae.

Pond Loach

The Pond Loach, also called Dojo Loach, is a mildly effective algae eater. They eat small pieces of algae but also feed on insects, plants and fish food. These fish don't get big, so don't expect them to eat a lot of algae. This makes the Pond Loach a special option for pond owners who want to use algae eaters in combination with other methods of algae removal.

Pond Loaches can live in cooler waters, making them a great choice for pond owners who live in cooler climates. They will survive and thrive in 40-80 degree waters.

Loach again

Having a few loaches in your pond is like having several small vacuum cleaners for the bottom of your pond. They will happily suck up anything that falls to the bottom of the pond, such as algae.

Before picking up a shoal of loaches for larger ponds, make sure you don't intend to breed fish. These fish like to eat fish eggs!

(Video) Top 10 Best algae eater in fish pond

Siamese Algae

The Siamese Algae Eater is one of the best fish to control algae in freshwater ponds. These freshwater fish are not picky about the type of algae they eat. They will happily feast on red algae, filamentous algae, and even large clumps of algae that most other fish will not touch.

It is important to keep in mind that the Siamese Algae Eater needs a warm temperature of 70-80 degrees. If you have an outdoor pond in a cold climate, these fish should be moved indoors for the winter. These are a good choice if you live in a climate that stays warm all year round.

Koi carp

Koi fish are known to snack on algae, but they don't consume as much algae as other algae eaters, such as the pleco. Instead, they eat more insects and fish food while occasionally eating a small amount of algae. Koi fish are best used in combination with other algae-eating fish, such as pleco.

Chinese striped shark with high fins

The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark is also referred to as a freshwater batfish. Closely related to algae eaters, this small shark is a classic bottom feeder. Investing in a group of these will help keep your pond bottom clean.

Freshwater batfish can grow over four feet in length. Because they eat more than smaller fish and their diet consists mainly of algae, you can trust them to do their part to prevent algae from taking over your pond.

However, it is important to note that these fish only eat algae on the bottom of a pond. You will need to use other algae control methods to ensure you have a healthy pond.


Goldfish like to eat small amounts of algae as a snack. However, they often prefer fish food and insects to algae. As a result, they only help a little against algae in a pond.

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Pond owners who have a significant algae problem will need to use other methods of algae control in addition to using goldfish. Also consider using an algaecide and purchasing good bacteria for your pond to ensure that algae does not become a problem.


Mollies are cute little algae eaters. They are often referred to as algae suckers because they tend to suck the algae off substrates, such as rocks and the bottom line, rather than eating large pieces of algae.

They won't consume as much algae as a larger fish, but they will do their part in controlling the algae in the pond. This pond cleaning fish will reproduce quickly. Due to the large numbers of mollies in your pond, you will find that they do a great job of preventing algae from taking over your entire pond.


Guppies are known for their small size and the way they suck algae off rocks and other substrates, such as your pond liner. These fish are best used for algae control in smaller ponds because they don't eat much algae.

If you are using guppies in your pond, it is important to make sure they are compatible with other fish in the pond. Most larger fish like to eat guppies as a snack, so it's important to double check that your current fish are omnivores.

Otocinclus catfish

The Otocinclus Catfish is a favorite among pond owners. These fish always prefer to eat algae over other fish or fish food. They like to suck the slimy algae off rocks, your pond liner, and enjoy snacking on large clumps of algae. They are one of the best algae eaters to help you control algae in your pond.

Although these fish are small, growing only about two inches in length, they eat more than their weight in algae. Their small size is useful if you have algae in nooks and crannies in your pond, as they like to wiggle between rocks and into crevices to enjoy the taste of algae.

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Grass carpet

Grass carp were originally brought to the United States from Asia to control weeds in watercourses. Now they are a useful tool for controlling specific types of algae in ponds.

These fish do not eat common types of algae, such as filamentous algae. However, they do consume a large amount of musk grass, a green algae species that is usually mistaken for a plant. To decide if Grass Carp is a good idea for your pond, it is important to consider what type of algae is problematic for your pond.

Triploid Grass Carp

Triploid Grass Carp is a type of Grass Carp. They are known for their great appetite for vegetation in ponds. They help control aquatic plants such as bushy pondweed and American pondweed. These fish are not a good choice if you need algae eaters to control filamentous algae or types of algae on the bottom of the pond.

before purchasing Triploid Grass Carp, it is important to research the laws in your state. Some states require pond owners to have a permit before stocking triploid grass carp.

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish is an exceptional choice for pond owners who need to control the algae in their pond. They grow bigger and are great bottom feeders!

However, channel catfish are slightly higher on the food chain than smaller, less aggressive fish. These hardy fish eat other fish in the pond, including Koi fish. Do not buy these fish for your pond if other fish live in the pond.

Channel Catfish grows to a large size of 1-2 feet in length. It is recommended that your pond be at least 1000 gallons of water if you plan to put catfish in it. If you don't have a larger pond, consider a smaller breed of algae-eating fish, such as the Flying Fox.

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Flying fox

The Flying Fox is an invasive fish species native to South Asia. They are small in size, but will certainly do their part to control the algae in your pond. These fish generally have more energy than other fish, so they require more nutrients. You'll soon find them whizzing around your pond cleaning the algae off rocks, the bottom of the pond, and anywhere else they can find algae.

These fish tend to nibble on plants if there is not much algae in a pond. Keep an eye on your water garden to make sure they aren't slowly killing it.

Japanese trap door snails

Trap door snails are a great option for algae control. They like to feast on pond debris, algae and eat leftover fish food that sinks to the bottom of the pond. Trap door snails also eat algae from the stems and roots of your pond plants. However, they do not eat the pond plants themselves, making this a good option if you have a water garden.

While pond snails do their part to control algae in garden ponds, they do very little to help water conditions. The waste from snails can even contribute to ponds having unhealthy water conditions. Snails also do not eat green pond algae. Therefore, in addition to using Japanese trap door snails, consider taking additional measures to combat algae.

Pond Snails

Pond owners can pick up any kind of pond snail to clean ponds. These snails slowly glide across the bottom of your pond to suck up algae and organic matter as it floats to the bottom.

However, it is important to note that snails do not eat much on a daily basis and often stick to the pond floor. You must use other algae control methods to have a healthy pond.


When choosing the right algae-eating fish for your pond, it's important to consider a few things. Consider the climate you love and whether you're apond heatingto control the water temperature. You also want to make sure that your new algae-eating fish will get along with any current fish. Once you've taken all the necessary into consideration, call your local pet store to pick up algae-eating fish to control algae growth in your pond.

(Video) The best algae eating fish (silver flying fox)


Best 16 Fish That Eat Algae In Ponds? ›

The best algae eating fish for a pond are Koi, Channel Catfish, Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark, Flying Fox, Pond Loach, and the Japanese Trapdoor Snail. After our interviews, research, and trial and error, we recommend the following inhabitants to help you manage algae in your pond the natural way!

What are the best fish to control algae in a pond? ›

The best algae eating fish for a pond are Koi, Channel Catfish, Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark, Flying Fox, Pond Loach, and the Japanese Trapdoor Snail. After our interviews, research, and trial and error, we recommend the following inhabitants to help you manage algae in your pond the natural way!

What kills algae in a pond without killing fish? ›

Barley straw is another plant product that destroys algae growth. This solution takes time, but it is completely harmless to fish and uses no chemicals. You place the barley straw in the water and it decomposes over a few months, depending on the temperature of the pond water and how oxygenated it is.

What fish cleans green algae? ›

While popular breeds of tropical algae-eaters such as the Siamese and Bristlenose are ideal for managing algae in a medium to large tank, those with smaller aquariums can rely on the Otocinclus Catfish.

Will algae eaters survive in a pond in winter? ›

Algae eaters for ponds like koi can survive over the winter even if the pond freezes over because sunlight will still reach into the pond.

What keeps algae out of ponds? ›

Solution: Sunlight is essential for algae to grow. You can block that sunlight by covering your water with pond water lilies or other floating plants; we recommend shading 40-60% of your pond's surface area. Another benefit to adding plants is that they absorb the nutrients in the pond, helping prevent algae blooms.

What is the best way to reduce algae in a pond? ›


This beneficial bacteria breakdown organic matter and consume excess nutrients which helps to balance and improve water quality and reduce algae blooms. The benefits of aeration to a lake or pond are actually higher at night, so running your aeration continously is highly recommended.

Can fish survive in a pond with algae? ›

Blue-green algae blooms that occur in freshwater lakes and ponds can be directly toxic to fish and wildlife. The blooms produce a toxin that can kill fish and even mammals if ingested in large amounts. These toxins are released from the blue-green cells when they die and rupture.

What kills algae naturally? ›

Grab a brush and some baking soda. Bicarbonate, the active ingredient in baking soda, is an effective spot treatment to help kill the algae and loosen it from the wall.

What is the smallest algae eater? ›

One of the smallest algae eaters on this list, the Malaysian trumpet snail grows under 1 inch in length and prefers to get soft algae. These snails have long shells that come to a point and they can be found in a variety of different colors.

Why is barley straw used in ponds? ›

Barley straw prevents the growth of algae. It does not kill existing algae. Because of this action, it is sometimes called an algistat as opposed to an algicide. It is not understood how barley straw prevents the growth of algae.

What bacteria eats green algae? ›

Bacillus bacteria is a natural garbage disposal for your pond. As the colonies of bacillus bacteria grow, they feed on the very same nutrients that algae like to feed on.

Should I leave algae in pond? ›

Whilst unattractive and potentially harmful, algae are very important members of a healthy, well-balanced pond ecosystem, providing food for species at the lower end of the food-chain. To deal with algae effectively is not to eradicate it, but to prevent, or control, its excessive growth.

Are catfish good or bad for ponds? ›

Are catfish bad for a pond? Channel catfish are ideally suited to pond life. Unlike bluegills or bass, they don't affect the predator/prey balance of a body of water. Furthermore, they make for fun fishing!

How often should you treat your pond for algae? ›

Pond algae treatments will generally need to be done every 10-14 days until algae growth subsides.

How do I get rid of algae in my 1 acre pond? ›

The most effective way to reduce algae, muck and other problems in a lake or farm pond is to increase aeration. And the best way to increase aeration is to install a bottom-diffused aeration system. Lake and farm pond aerators function in much the same way as the ones used in smaller water gardens.

What if too much algae grows in a pond? ›

Excessive algae growth will also limit sunlight from penetrating your pond and can cause significant thermal stratification, which is temperature layers throughout the pond. The water that does not receive the sunlight and warmth will remain cooler and denser.

What creatures eat algae? ›

Some of the known types of fish to eat algae are blennies and tangs, but along with fish there are snails, crabs, and sea urchins who also eat algae. These species are known to eat red slime algae, green film algae, hair algae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, brown film algae, detritus, and microalgae.

What does baking soda do to pond water? ›

Baking soda should only be used in the pond for scrubbing stains or algae deposits on an exposed pond liner while the water is drained. A small amount left behind from this kind of cleaning won't hurt any fish in the water or have a strong effect on the pH.

What does vinegar do to pond water? ›

While adding vinegar to your pond will lower the pH and kill bacteria, it can also kill your fish and plants if the pH drops below 6.5. Removing the fish and plants before adding vinegar is the best way to keep them safe.

How do I prevent algae in my pond retention? ›

The best way to prevent nuisance algae outbreaks in HOA ponds is to have the body of water dredged at least once a year. Dredging is the process of physically and mechanically removing organic sediment and nutrients from the bottom of the pond. This sludge-like material feeds the algae outbreaks.

Which fish clean the water? ›

The two most commonly used cleaner fish are the lumpfish, Cyclopterus lumpus, and the ballan wrasse Labrus bergeylta. Lumpfish are distributed across the Atlantic ocean, ranging from Greenland to France, Hudson's Bay to New Jersey, and in high concentrations in the Bay of Fundy and St.

Is there a cold water fish that eats algae? ›

Rubber Lip Pleco (Chaetostomus sp.)

The Rubber Lip pleco is a fantastic algae eater that will make serious inroads into any algae growing on the surfaces in your aquarium. Rubber Lip plecos are not commonly seen in fish stores, which is a shame, as these fish make excellent cold-water algae eaters.

What kills algae permanently? ›

Bleach is great for killing algae (and other organisms that may lurk in your tanks) and for keeping it from coming back. Scientific research shows that using bleach that is made from a solution with 5.25% hypochlorite. Never mix bleach and chlorine together.

What kills algae immediately? ›

Chlorine is still one of the most effective killers of algae so doing a super-chlorination of 10-20 ppm of chlorine can go a long way towards wiping out the algae. Liquid chlorine is an ideal shock for algae because it is fast acting and does not add cyanuric acid (CYA) or calcium to the water.

What dissolves algae fast? ›

For an isolated algae bloom, use granular chlorine to treat it. You can also get a brush, apply algaecide to the water, and scrub. If you have free-floating algae, you'll have to shock your pool.

What is the easiest algae eater to keep? ›

Cherry Shrimp are without a doubt one of the best algae eaters around and are relatively easy to care for. They don't require strict water conditions and can easily adapt to any environment. They can thrive in temperatures as high as 85 degrees and will often reproduce quicker the warmer the water gets.

What eats thick algae? ›

Fish are only one type of animal that eats algae. There are many algae-eating snails, shrimp and clams that can be interesting additions to your tank. Florida flagfish (Jordanella floridae) are great additions to the aquarium that has a brush or beard algae problem.

Can I put too much barley straw in my pond? ›

In ponds that are frequently muddy or those that have a history of heavy algae growth, two or three times this recommended dose may be required for the initial treatment. However, overdosing the pond with barley straw may cause fish kills because the straw deoxygenates the water as it decays.

How fast does barley extract clear a pond? ›

The addition of barley to the pond will cause the decomposition of the straw and when this reaches a certain stage, will begin reducing the algae in your pond. This can take any time from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on a few factors.

How often do you add barley extract to a pond? ›

If pond water is turbid, pour 2 ounces of Barley Extract for every 500 gallons of pond water once per week until pond water clears. To maintain clarity apply 1 ounce for every 500 gallons of pond water every 2 weeks. Barley Extract is not temperature dependent and can be used year-round.

What clean up crew eats algae? ›

Crabs, snails, starfish, urchins and sea cucumbers along with utilitarian fish like blennies and tangs are your best defense against nuisance algae.

What virus kills algae? ›

Controlling algal blooms

For example, a particular algal virus, known as a cyanophage, can be used to control harmful algal blooms of cyanobacteria.

What food chain eats algae? ›

Phytoplankton and algae form the bases of aquatic food webs. They are eaten by primary consumers like zooplankton, small fish, and crustaceans. Primary consumers are in turn eaten by fish, small sharks, corals, and baleen whales.

What temperature kills algae? ›

Abstract. When incubated in the light under 100% oxygen, wild-type blue-green algae (Anacystis nidulans, Synechococcus cedrorum) die out rapidly at temperatures of 4 to 15 C, and at 35 C (or at 26 C in the case of S. cedrorum) in the absence of CO(2). Photosynthesis is impaired in these cells long before they die.

How many catfish should I put in my pond? ›

A typical pond stocking strategy for a warm-water pond would be 1,000-1,500 bluegills, 50-100 bass, and 50-200 catfish per acre. Many recreational pond owners, however, prefer to stock bluegills and catfish to increase the size and population of bass.

How deep of a pond do catfish need? ›

Catfish grow best in warm water, with optimum growth occurring at about 85 degrees. Ponds suitable for exclusive channel catfish production should be at least eight feet deep with pond edges sloping quickly to three feet deep to reduce aquatic vegetation problems.

Will catfish clean up a pond? ›

We get asked this question quite frequently… The one-word answer to that question is “No”. Contrary to popular opinion, catfish don't eat muck and vegetation from the bottom of the pond. Catfish are predators that prey on a wide variety of aquatic animals, but they do not eat pond muck.

Will daily water changes get rid of algae? ›

Regular water change is hugely beneficial. It keeps algae at bay by removing organic waste, most of which cannot be measured by hobbyist test kits. And fresh water rebalances the build-up of minerals and supplements added over time.

Can fish live in a pond full of algae? ›

Excessive nuisance algae (planktonic and filamentous) can be an unsightly problem and can lead to oxygen depletion problems that can kill fish. Additionally blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) can actually be toxic to animals, and even to people.

What happens if there is too much algae in a pond? ›

Excessive algae growth will also limit sunlight from penetrating your pond and can cause significant thermal stratification, which is temperature layers throughout the pond. The water that does not receive the sunlight and warmth will remain cooler and denser.

Do catfish keep ponds clean? ›

Lots of novice pond keepers buy catfish with the mistaken belief that these scavengers will help them rid algae and other muck from their ponds. While catfish are omnivores, and will eat some plant matter, they really won't do much to clean your pond (Only good filtration and maintenance will do that).


1. How to Get Rid of Algae in a Pond - Pond & Lake Algae Control
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2. 7 Types Of Algae Eating Fish For Aquarium
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3. How to remove algae from pond without harming fish
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4. Pond Algae Prevention & Control - Our Pond Looks BEAUTIFUL! - Copper Sulfate, Pond Dye and Aeration
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5. How An Algae-Infested Koi Fish Pond Is Deep Cleaned | Deep Cleaned | Insider
6. Top 16 Freshwater Algae Eaters | Algae eaters types
(Tech Nova)


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