Top 5 Cleaner Fish for your Aquarium! - Fishly

Is algae becoming too much of a nuisance to remove manually? 

We've put a list together of the top 5 fish to help keep your aquarium clean!


1. Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus Cirrosus)

The Bristlenose Pleco is a omnivorous fish but will readily devour algae presenting itself within your aquarium.

Bristlenose Plecos are one of the smaller of their Plecostomus counterparts only maxing out at about 15cm in length. Although a smaller Pleco, this fish is bigger than some other algae eaters on our list and requires a minimum of a 60L aquarium. These plecos are very hardy and can tolerate pH range of 6.0-8.0 and a water temperature from 25 to 28 Degrees Celsius.

As much as they love algae, it should be relied on as a staple food. But not to worry as you can easily pick up some Pleco based foods to keep them happy.

The great thing about a Bristlenose Pleco as they can be kept in most community oriented aquariums and will inhabit the bottom part of the tank.


2. Otocinclus Catfish (Otocinclus)

Otocinclus are one of the best known algae eaters.
These small catfish come from the same family of fish as the bristlenose, this being the Loricariidae family. Maxing out in size at a mere 5cm. 

These fish belong in groups but that's no problem as the more you have the better they will work as algae destroying powerhouses. For a small group you will need an aquarium of at least 40Litres.

Although omnivorous this fish will predominantly prey on algae which is why they are a perfect cleaner fish. 

But again they do still need feeding as to not starve them once the algae is gone. So invest in a good algae wafer or bottom feeder tablet

Aggression wise these guys have none and the biggest worry is keeping them with fish that would or could snack on them.

As for parameters the usual is required of there being no Ammonia or Nitrite. PH for these fish should be at a level of 6.9-7.2 and their temperature should be 23 to 26 degrees. They can be finnicky is some instances and are easily stressed but overall are a fun cleaner fish for your aquarium.


3. Hillstream Loach (Balitoridae)

The Hillstream Loach, often reffered to as "mini stingrays" these cool catfish come from South East Asia from fast flowing rivers and streams.

There max size is 8cm but most remain smaller. 

Hillstream Loaches are omnivores but will still contribute to algae control when algae is in abundance. However food should still be given to make sure they don't die out once the algae is gone. They will eat most bottom feeder foods.

They can work as a solitary fish or can be grouped. Solitary fish still should have a spacious 50litre aquarium and a group should not be housed in anything less than 120liters. Longer rather than higher aquaria should be sought after due to their energy and originating from high flow environments. 

These are hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of pH as long as its stable. Temperature wise these fish will feel happier in cooler water of about 20 to 24 degrees celcius. 


4. Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchos Kalopterus)

The Flying Fox is a striking fish is a cool edition to a fish tank by itself. Without even mentioning their algae eating capabilities.

Being omnivorous this fish will eat algae whilst in an aquarium, but should be supplied vast amount of foods, some including meat based foods. 

This fish maxes can max out at 15cm although it commonly gets to about 10cm or less. They should be kept in a group of at least two. This will ensure they feel safe and secure in there environment.
The minimum tank size for a small group of 3 is about 180 litres. Larger groups require even bigger aquaria of 200L+ due to them needing a large swimming space and being a bigger sized algae eater.

pH of around 6.5 to 7.0 and a temperature of 24 to 26 degrees whilst maintaining a good water quality of 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and <40ppm Nitrates.


5. American Flagfish (Jordanella Floridae)

Its as if we saved the most beautiful for last. This fish is rarely seen in New Zealand but is a surprisingly good algae eater when it comes to the hair algae varieties. 

Being an omnivore they do prey on algae as stated but a variety of foods of meat and vegetable matter will do this fish well. 

American Flagfish grow to a max size of 6cm but will usually remain smaller. 

Groups of these fish are preferred over solitary specimens. A pair should be house in a 70 litre aquarium, whilst bigger groups ranging up to 6 should be kept in aquariums around 150 litres.

To keep them happy you should have a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 in some cases that range being larger. An ideal temperature can range anywhere from 20 to 30 Degrees Celsius. So overall a very hardy fish to help combat your algae. 


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