Algae is a common problem in many different-sized tanks. It can be hard to find a good algae eater for a smaller tank since most of the beneficial algae eaters grow too large to be housed in small tanks. Algae can quickly overrun a small tank and make it look unsightly because there is less surface area for it to grow on when compared to large tanks.
The first thought you may have been how you keep the algae under control. Before you rush off to purchase an alga-removing chemical, this article will inform you of different algae eaters that can live in a nano tank environment.
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Algae Eaters vs Chemicals
Many aquatic chemicals combat algae issues. Although these can be helpful in some instances, they typically do more harm than good. As a long-term solution, chemical algae removers do not aid in keeping algae under control. Chemicals used to treat algae blooms are full of toxic ingredients that not only kill off algae but live plants as well. These chemicals can build up in the water and become harmful to aquatic life. It is best to avoid using chemicals to remove algae from an aquarium unless the algae have completely overrun the tank. In that case, you will have to scrub the glass and any surfaces to detach the algae. Fish and invertebrates should be moved to a separate tank so that they do not get poisoned. Keep in mind that live plants will die off from even the smallest dose of algae remover chemicals.
Having live algae eaters in the tank is a much more beneficial and safer option in the long run. They will eat the algae before it can grow to a visible size. Choosing the right type of algae eater for your tank depends on how much algae grows in the tank and the type of algae that is growing. Some algae eaters will not eat black beard algae or white-string algae.
The Main Causes of Algae
There are many reasons for algae to grow inside of a tank. One of the most common reasons is lighting. If you leave the aquarium light on for more than 8 hours a day, you will start to see an increase in algae growth. If the lights spectrum is high and concentrated in a smaller tank, then algae growth is most likely to grow within 4 hours of the light being on.
An abundance of nutrients in the tank aids in algae growth. This can be caused by the overuse of fertilizers or carbon. Fish waste can also cause a spike in nitrates which algae feed off. Live plants and frequent water changes can help resolve this issue.
New wood in the tank such as driftwood or Mopani woods can cause white algae to bloom on the surface. This type of algae feeds off the sugars produced by wood that’s recently been introduced into the water.
10 of the Best Algae Eaters for Small Tanks
These creatures can be kept in a tank as small as 10-gallons. This makes them ideal algae eaters for nano tanks. Most of them can be housed together to form an effective clean-up crew.
1. Siamese algae eater
This is a small type of algae eater that can comfortably live in a 10-gallon nano tank. They are good at keeping algae under control and can be housed with a variety of different nano fish.
2. Nerite snails
These are small and attractive snails that are excellent at feeding off algae in the tank. They work better in groups of 10 or more and are so small that you will hardly notice them. They do not feed off live plants and can only breed in brackish water. This means you do not need to worry about nerite snails overpopulating the tank.
There is a variety of different shrimp both color and species wise that will aid in removing algae. This is their primary source of food, and they can be seen nibbling at it throughout the day. Cherry and Amano’s shrimp are the most effective algae eaters amongst the different shrimp species.
Mollies‘ mouths are designed to eat algae. They are great at ripping away algae from surfaces in the tank. They have quite a hearty appetite and have no problem clearing away opportunistic algae. They should be kept in groups of six or more to thrive.
The classic favorite fancy guppy is a beloved algae eater. Not only are these fish colorful and perfect for nano tanks, but they also do a good job at removing algae. Guppies can be kept in groups of eight or more in a 10-gallon tank.
6. Ramshorn snails
Aside from nerite snails, ramshorns are enthusiastic algae eaters. They are small and colorful and the main part of their diet consists of algae.
7. Southern platyfish
These fish are like mollies and have upturned mouths to scrape off algae. They enjoy being in large groups and can be kept in small tanks with no problems.
8. Bristlenose catfish
This is a small growing Plecostomus that only reaches an adult size of 3 to 4 inches. They come in different colors such as albino or red-nosed and suck algae off surfaces in the tank. A male and female pair can be kept together, and they will help combat algae problems.
9. Twig catfish
These small catfish do well in nano environments. They can reach algae that are growing in narrow spaces which many other algae eaters are unable to reach.
10. Flying fox
This is an interesting algae eater that primarily feeds off common green algae. They can be kept in groups to cover a larger surface area in the tank.
When it comes to nano algae eaters, shrimp and snails seem to be the most effective at their job. Snails have a low bioload and a large amount can fit into a small tank. Shrimp are at risk of being eaten by fish and should only be kept in a compatible environment. If you prefer a fish, the bristlenose catfish is a good option. They will not be able to cover as much surface area as shrimp or snails can, but they are great at controlling small algae blooms.
We hope this article has helped you find the best algae eater for your small tank!
You might also like: 14 Best Algae Eaters for Betta Tanks (Compatibility Guide 2021)
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