The 10 Best Pond Algae Eaters For a Clean Pond

By Algal Web

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Controlling algae is one of the most challenging parts of maintaining a garden pond. Plenty of pond owners try to avoid algaecides because these products can disrupt the pond ecosystem and cause death under valuable fish species. Instead, they try to focus on natural remedies like pond algae eaters. 

In this guide, we are going to take a quick look at the best algae-eating fish species to help you keep algae under control. 

The 10 Best Pond Algae Eaters

A great number of herbivorous and omnivorous fish species feed on algae. But not all algae-eating pond fish are suitable for the fish species and size of pond you have. With this guide, we took some time to shortlist the 10 best and most common algae-eating fish species to use for a cleaner and clearer pond and we also offer other helpful tips to help you choose the right algae eater for your pond. Here is a quick look at our top picks if you need a natural method to control algae.

Koi Fish 

Koi fish are some of the most popular ornamental pond fish species for backyard ponds because they are so beautiful and easy to maintain. There are over 100 different varieties of koi fish to choose from.

This hardy fish species isn’t the best algae eater in the world since they do prefer other plant matter and insects over algae but they are superb for ponds with average algae growth. Koi will also keep insect infestations like mosquito larvae under control. 

Koi fish are ideal for fish keepers who want to control the algae growth in a pond that has lots of vibrant colored fish. 


Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio

Food Sources: Algae, plant matter & insects

Avg. Fish Size: 12 – 15 Inches

Life Expectancy: 25 – 35 Years

Pond Size: Over 1,000 Gallon sized pond

Water Conditions: 61 – 72 Degrees F, 6.9 – 7.8 pH level

Temperament: Social but can become aggressive during mating season


GoldFish are often overlooked for bonds because they are so popular in aquariums. But this fish species is ideal for pond ecosystems since they can survive at low oxygen levels.

GoldFish will eat almost anything including algae. They are happy to munch on any type of algae available but are also fond of other plant matter, detritus, small insects, and just about anything else they may find in the water. 

We recommend this attractive fish species if you are looking for a vibrant colored fish that can also help keep the growth of algae in your pond under control. 


Scientific Name: Carassius auratus

Food Sources: Plant matter, insects, crustaceans, detritus, and algae

Avg. Fish Size: 1 – 6 Inches

Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 Years

Pond Size: 20 Gallons per inch fish size

Water Conditions: 68 – 74 Degrees F, 7.0 – 8.4 pH level

Temperament: Social 

Channel Catfish

 This fish with its cat-like whiskers (tendrils) isn’t the most vibrant-looking fish species but it is a terrific aquatic creature for ponds with an algae issue. 

Channel catfish love to eat many forms of algae such as green algae or brown algae, as well as anything else they find on the bottom of your pond. They will eat detritus, plant matter, insects, and animal matter. This fish species is ideal for keeping algae under control and for reducing excessive nutrients in your pond water which will also help to control algae growth.

Channel catfish can be aggressive towards other fish species but they should be just fine if they have enough space to move in and enough food to eat. 


Scientific Name: Ictalurus punctatus

Food Sources: Algae, plant matter, and animal matter

Avg. Fish Size: 15 – 24 Inches

Life Expectancy: 15 – 20 Years

Pond Size: Over 1,000 gallons

Water Conditions: 75 – 86 Degrees F, 5.5 – 7.5 pH level

Temperament: Can be aggressive at times

Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

The Chinese high-fin-banded shark isn’t just an algae eater, it is also a shark! But don’t worry, this shark doesn’t have any sharp teeth. The little fish is part of the Catostomidae fish family that is all known as suckers. The preferred food source of this fish is filamentous algae which makes it a perfect addition to any algae-filled pond. 

The stripe pattern on this friendly and peaceful fish will also add a little bit of color to your pond. You also don’t have to worry about this shark’s temperament since this fish species is known for its friendly and peaceful nature. 


Scientific Name: Myxocyprinus asiaticus

Food Sources: Mostly algae, animal matter, other plant matter

Avg. Fish Size: Up to 39 inches

Life Expectancy: 25 Years

Pond Size: Over 1,000 gallons

Water Conditions: 61 – 72 Degrees F, 6.9 – 7.8 pH level

Temperament: Social and peaceful

Flying Fox

A swarm of flying foxes is bound to keep your pond nice and clear. These black stripe fish species originates from Southwest Asia and is a notorious green algae eater. They will nibble algae from rocks, pond plants, and any other surface in your pond. With a couple of these sweepers, your pond water is bound to be much clearer.

Flying fox fish might be a good algae control system but can however be a bit energetic. The social species’ high energy levels or quick swim pace are known to stress other fish species. You will also need a pond aerator since flying fox needs a lot of oxygen to survive. 


Scientific Name: Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus

Food Sources: Aquatic vegetation and algae

Avg. Fish Size: Up to 6 inches

Life Expectancy: 8 – 10 Years

Pond Size: Over 30 gallons

Water Conditions: 75 – 79 Degrees F, 6.0 – 7.5 pH level

Temperament: Social but can be territorial at times

Pond Loach

The pond loach is a great fish species to pair with other species like koi because they are friendly and hardy. Pond loaches love to eat insects, small aquatic animals, and, most importantly, algae. The peaceful species are great for combating unwanted algae on the bottom surfaces of your pond. 

This friendly fish is also ideal for cooler water temperatures since they can survive comfortably at temperatures beloved 55 degrees F. 

Pond loach fish is a perfect species for small to large pond sizes and an ideal member for any fish community. 


Scientific Name: Misgurnus anguillicaudatus

Food Sources: Algae and small insects

Avg. Fish Size: Up to 12 inches

Life Expectancy: 7 – 10+ Years

Pond Size: Over 20 gallons

Water Conditions: 55 – 72 Degrees F, 6.5 – 8.0 pH level

Temperament: Calm and hiding but can be territorial 

Common Pleco

The common pleco or Siamese algae eater is one of the most popular algae eaters in aquariums because they have an interesting – almost frightening – look and they are very peaceful when it comes to other fish. These suckermouth catfish are perfect companions for koi fish, carp, goldfish, and many other species. 

Pleco fish are bottom feeders. This popular pond fish will clear algae from your pond floor surface and they are also happy to feed on small insects, pond plant matter, detritus, food pellets, uneaten food, and other particles they find on your pond floor.

Pleco’s can be territorial or competitive when it comes to their own species. It is best not to have too many plecos’s in a small pond. 


Scientific Name: Hypostomus plecostomus

Food Sources: Algae and plant matter or animal matter

Avg. Fish Size: 15 – 24 Inches

Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 Years

Pond Size: Over 100 gallons

Water Conditions: 74 – 80 Degrees F, 7.0 – 8.0 pH level

Temperament: Peaceful and hiding

Grass Carp

Grass carp might not be the most beautiful or vibrant pond cleaning fish species but they are ideal for keeping aquatic plants and algae species like muskgrass under control. The voracious eaters have a healthy appetite which makes them ideal for rapid-growing algae. 

Grass carp do grow quite aggressively and they can quickly become too big or too competitive for your outdoor pond. The larger species can be terrific for reducing algae but they can also turn into pests due to their extreme appetite and size. 


Scientific Name: Ctenopharyngodon idella

Food Sources: Aquatic plants and algae

Avg. Fish Size: 23.5 – 39.5 Inches

Life Expectancy: 5 – 9 Years

Pond Size: 1,000 gallons

Water Conditions: 66 – 84 Degrees F, 6.5 – 9 pH level

Temperament: Calm but can become aggressive towards other fish


Guppies are ideal for small ponds because they love to feed on algae and plant matter. They are also very friendly and social and pond owners love their vibrant neon colors. A swarm of these gorgeous small fish species is bound to brighten up your healthy pond and will clear up green water since these fish species are small enough to pick up microscopic algae particles. They are also ideal for controlling blue-green algae since guppies also eat microscopic pond insects and crustaceans. 

The only issue with guppies is that larger pond species like carp or koi can easily slurp them up as a snack, especially a fry and fingerlings. It might be hard to keep your guppy populations in check if you have other fish species in your outdoor pond. 


Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata

Food Sources: Algae, plant matter, and pond insects

Avg. Fish Size: 0.6 – 1.4 Inches

Life Expectancy: 4 – 5 Years

Pond Size: 5 Gallons per guppy

Water Conditions: 72 – 82 Degrees F, 6.8 – 7.6 pH level

Temperament: Friendly and social

Japanese Trapdoor Snail

This algae eater is one of the friendliest aquatic animals to get for your tank. Trapdoor snails will pick up any type of loose food on your pond surfaces. They also eat soft algae. These snails are ideal for reducing sludge on your pond floor and they can be very helpful for controlling algae varieties that grow on rocks and pond floor surfaces. 

Japanese trapdoor snails can be great for keeping a clean pond but they tend to multiply rapidly. The pond snail also creates a lot of waste that can pollute your pond and make the water murky and smelly with a slime coating.  


Scientific Name: Viviparus malleatus

Food Sources: Algae, detritus, and plant matter

Avg. Fish Size: 1 – 3 Inches

Life Expectancy: 1 – 5 Years

Pond Size: Any

Water Conditions: 64 – 84 Degrees F, 7.0 – 8.0 pH level

Temperament: Friendly 

Final Thoughts

We do hope that this guide helped you choose the right pond algae eaters so you can keep your water garden in great condition without putting your other fish species at risk. On AlgalWeb, you can also find other useful tips to help you keep algal growth under control or identify the best algae species to maintain for a healthy ecosystem. Feel free to check out some of our other guides so you can maintain the perfect balance of good algae for a low-maintenance pond.

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