Everything You Need To Know About Algae Eating Fish For Ponds

Algae Eating Fish For Ponds

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Algae is not uncommon in fish ponds, however, this isn’t a good sign and can be detrimental to aquatic life there. Aquarists remove algae from ponds through different means, and one of them is introducing algae-eating fish into the water.

Notwithstanding, there’s more to just handpicking fish into the pond; you must consider different factors. Before adding them to the water, you should know a few things about algae in ponds and algae-eating fish. 

What you need to know is in this article; read through!

Types Of Algae Found In Ponds

Image Credit: montecitokoiponds.com

Before choosing algae-eating fish for your pond, you need to know that not all of them eat all the types of algae in the water. You need to know the different types to determine which fish will be most suitable for your pond.

Here are some algae types to help you distinguish which is in your tank:

1. Green water

Green water is the rarest algae but also the worst. They can be difficult to remove, and it changes the color of the water in your pond. What’s disappointing is that fish hardly eat it; therefore, you’ll need to try other removal methods.

2. Blue/green algae

This is a common algae type and is usually blue or green. It floats around in the pond; however, it’s toxic. Therefore, it is not edible for most fish.

3. Gold slime

This alga appears slimy, like dots on the pond walls and other equipment. It often appears in ponds with low light. Gold slime is edible, and fish eat it.

4. Brush algae

Another algae that can appear in ponds is brush algae. It often appears on plants in the pond in the form of thick tufts of hair. You can easily wipe them away or get algae-eating fish to eat them.

5. Green dot algae

This is another common pond algae that appear as green dots on the wall and fixtures. It can also multiply quickly and can be bad for aquatic life. However, fish don’t eat it.

6. Green slime

This is the most common algae on this list. However, you may hardly see them in your pond because most fish eat them, and they might disappear before you even notice them.

Why Is Algae Bad In Ponds?

While algae benefit ponds, it can also be bad. They tamper with oxygen flow in the pond and limit the oxygen your fish or aquarium plants get in the water. 

They can also block out the inflow and outflow of water in the pond when they find their way into the drains. Furthermore, algae like blue-green algae can release toxins into the water and poison aquatic life.

In addition, they can mess with the taste of the water and cause it to smell. You must remove algae from your ponds immediately after you notice it.

What Causes Algae Increase In Ponds?

Algae appear in ponds due to different reasons, but generally, these are the causes of algae:

  1. Presence of excess nutrients in ponds, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
  2. Overstocking fish in the pond
  3. Overfeeding
  4. The absence of a proper filtration system can cause algae presence. Therefore, you need to invest in quality filters for your ponds, like:
  1. Excess sunlight and general water imbalance will make algae appear in your pond.

Benefit Of Algae Eating Fish In Ponds

Generally, algae-eating fish help to get rid of algae in your pond. They ensure your pond becomes healthy for other aquatic life. They allow proper aeration and let your fish and aquatic plants get the necessary nutrients.

They keep your pond clean and help maintain the ecosystem in the water. With them in your pond, you can be assured that there won’t be leftover food in your tank because they’re bottom feeders and will clear out excess food before they become a problem.

What To Consider When Choosing Algae Eating Fish For Ponds

You can’t add just any algae-eating fish to your pond. They need to be perfect with your pond and match certain requirements. You must choose one that will function and clear out the algae in your pond.

Therefore, these are factors you should consider: 

1. Pond size and depth

Pond size matters when adding fish to your tank. You can’t add too many fish in your pond if it’s small; the algae eater and other life in the water may not thrive as they should. You should know whether the pond size will be okay when the fish starts growing.

2. Water temperature

When adding an algae eater to your pond, you must consider the water temperature. If you maintain a warm pond, then you should add fish that can survive in that temperature and not otherwise.

3. Water pH level

The algae-eating fish should also match the current pH level in your pond. Otherwise, the fish may struggle, and you can’t switch it to match just the algae eater alone and make others suffer.

4. Algae type

You should check the algae type in your pond, how much it is, and where it is most present. This will help inform which or how many fish you need.

5. Other aquatic life

You should consider whether the Algae eater’s temperament matches the current ones in your pond. You don’t want to add aggressive fish into a pond with calm ones.

6. Ease of care

You should also consider how easy it’ll be to care for the algae eater. Do they need more supplemental feeding or not?

5 Algae Eating Fish For Pond

You need to choose the perfect algae eaters for your pond. Here are some to choose from:

1. Mollies

You can introduce mollies into your fish pond if you don’t want algae to thrive in your water. They are livebearers and will eat algae in your pond 


Depending on how big it is, you can add a few of them into your pond. They’re peaceful fish and will dwell peacefully with other fish in the pond. 

Since they’re a bit brackish, you will need to add some aquarium salt to the pond. However, they can reproduce quickly if the condition is favorable.

2. Whiptail catfish

Whiptail catfish is another algae eater for removing algae in the water. They are easy to care for and will feed on algae available in the pond and uneaten food. 

Moreover, these fishes can grow up to 7 inches, so you should consider that and your pond size when buying. They have a peaceful temperament and will thrive with other calm fish.

3. Otoncinclus catfish 

This is a very small algae eater and grows up to two inches. They’re peaceful and get along with other fish and bottom feeders. However, they’re incompatible with cichlids and other aggressive fish. 

The good news is that they are easy to care for and can do well in most water temperatures. They are most suitable for removing brown algae.

4. Twig catfish

Another option for your fish pond is twig catfish. They have long thin bodies but can grow up to 4 inches. They are cool and can cohabit with other live bearers and tetras. 

You need to keep them in soft water conditions, and they require extra care and supplemental feeding. Also, you must ensure they have enough hiding spots in the water because they’re shy.

5. Chinese Algae eater

Chinese algae eaters are another good option. It is easy to care for and can grow up to 10 inches. However, they tend to be aggressive as they grow; therefore, you should consider that if you have calm fish in your pond.

They thrive better in warm temperatures, and you must supplement them with an herbivorous diet. However, they’re more effective at removing algae when they’re young because they grow lazy as they grow older.


Algae isn’t a nice outlook on your pond. It suffocates other life in the water and takes over if you don’t remove it. Introducing algae-eating fish is a natural way to remove it, and it’s safe.

Ensure you choose the fish that matches your pond size and fish temperament and ones that are easy to care for.

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Everything You Need To Know About Algae Eating Fish For Ponds
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