Best 16 Fish That Eat Algae In Ponds

Best 16 Fish That Eat Algae In Ponds

Making sure that you have plenty of fish that eat algae in your pond can drastically help control algae growth. This method of algae control is both cost effective and it's extremely effective! Read on to learn which fish are known for eating algae in ponds so that you buy the best algae eaters for your pond!

Common Pleco

The common pleco is one of the most common algae eaters for ponds. They are known for eating a large number of string algae. 

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

Pond Loach

The Pond Loach, which is also referred to as a Dojo Loach, is a mildly effective algae eater. They eat small bits of algae but also feed on insects, plants, and fish food. These fish do not grow to a large size, so don't expect them to eat a lot of algae. This makes the Pond Loach an exceptional option for pond owners that want to use algae eaters in combination with other methods of algae removal. 

Pond loaches can live in cooler water, making them a wonderful choice for pond owners that live in cooler climates. They will survive and thrive in waters that are 40-80 degrees. 

Weather Loach

Having a few Weather 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 school of weather loaches for larger ponds, make sure that you do not plan on breeding fish. These fish love to eat fish eggs!

Siamese Algae Eater

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

It's important to keep in mind that the Siamese Algae Eater requires a warm temperature of 70-80 degrees. If you have an outdoor pond in a cold climate, these fish will need to be transferred indoors for the winter. These are a great choice if you live in a climate that stays warm year round. 

Koi Fish

Koi fish are known for snacking on algae, but they do not consume algae as much as other algae eaters, such as the pleco. Instead, they will eat more insects and fish food while occasionally eating a small number of algae. Koi fish are best used in combination with other algae eating fish, such as pleco. 

Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

The Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark is also called a freshwater batfish. This tiny shark is closely related to algae eaters and is a classic bottom feeder. Investing in a group of these will help keep your pond floor clean. 

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

However, it's important to note that these fish only eat algae on the bottom of a pond. You'll need to use other methods of algae control to make sure that you have a healthy pond. 


Goldfish enjoy eating small amounts of algae as a snack. However, they often prefer to eat fish food, and insects over algae. Because of that, they only help control algae in a pond a small amount. 

Pond owners that have a significant algae problem will need to incorporate other methods of algae control in addition to using goldfish. Consider also using algaecide and purchasing good bacteria for your pond to make sure that algae do not become a problem. 


Mollies are adorable, small algae eaters. They are often referred to as algae suckers because they tend to suck the algae off of substrates, such as rocks and the bottom liner, instead of eating large pieces of algae. 

They will not consume as many 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. Because of the large numbers of mollies in your pond, you'll find that they do a wonderful job at preventing algae from taking over your entire pond. 


Guppies are known for their small size and the way that they suck algae off of rocks and other substrates, such as your pond liner. These fish are best used for algae control in smaller ponds because they do not eat a lot of algae. 

When using guppies in your pond, it's important to make sure that they are compatible with other fish in the pond. Most larger fish enjoy eating guppies for a snack, so it's important to double check whether 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 feed. They'll happily suck the slimy algae off of 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, and only grow to be about two inches long, they eat more than their weight in algae. Their small size comes in handy when you have algae in nooks and crannies in your pond as they will happily squirm between rocks and into crevices to enjoy the taste of algae. 

Grass Carp

Grass carp were originally brought to the United States from Asia in order to combat weeds in waterways. Now, they are a useful tool in helping to combat specific types of algae in ponds. 

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

Triploid Grass Carp

Triploid Grass Carp are a type of Grass Carp. They are known for their large 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 help control string algae or types of algae that are along the bottom of the pond. 

before purchasing Triploid Grass Carp, it's important to research laws in your state. Some states require that pond owners have a permit before stocking Triploid Grass Carp. 

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish are an exceptional choice for pond owners that need to control the algae in their pond. They grow to a larger size, and are wonderful bottom feeders! 

However, Channel Catfish are a bit higher on the food chain than smaller, less aggressive fish. These hardy fish will eat other fish that are in the pond, including Koi fish. Do not purchase these fish for your pond if there are other fish that live in the pond. 

Channel Catfish do grow to a large size of 1-2 feet long. It's recommended that your minimum pond size be 1000 gallons of water if you plan to stock it with catfish. If you do not have a larger pond, consider a smaller breed of algae eating fish, such as the Flying Fox. 

Flying Fox

The Flying Fox is an invasive species of fish that originated in South Asia. They are small in size, but will definitely do their part to help control the algae in your pond. These fish tend to have more energy than other fish, so they have higher nutrient needs. You'll see them quickly zipping around your pond to clean the algae off of rocks, the bottom of the pond, and anywhere else that they can find algae. 

These fish do tend to nibble on plants when there is not a lot of algae in a pond. Keep an eye on your water garden to make sure that they are not slowly killing it. 

Japanese Trapdoor Snails

Trapdoor Snails are a great option for controlling algae. They will happily feast on pond scum, algae and eat leftover fish food that sinks to the bottom of the pond. Trapdoor Snails will also eat algae off the stems and roots of your pond plants. However, they will not eat the pond plants themselves, making this a great option if you have a water garden. 

Although pond snails do their part to help combat algae in garden ponds, they do very little to help water conditions. In fact, the waste created from snails can contribute to ponds having unhealthy water conditions. Snails also do not eat green pond algae. Because of this, consider implementing additional measures to control algae in addition to using Japanese Trapdoor Snails. 

Pond Snails

Pond owners can pick up any breed of pond snails to help clean ponds. These snails will slowly slide around on the bottom of your pond to suck up algae and organic matter as it floats to the bottom.

However, it's important to note that snails do not eat a lot daily, and often stick to the pond floor. You'll need to implement other methods of algae control to have a healthy pond. 

In Conclusion

When deciding on the appropriate algae-eating fish for your pond, it's important to consider a few things. Consider the climate that you love in and whether you will have a pond heater to control water temperatures. You'll also want to make sure that your new algae-eating fish will get along well with any current fish. Once you've taken everything necessary into consideration, call your local pet stores to pick up algae-eating fish to help control the growth of algae in your pond.

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