How Many Algae Eaters Can Go In a Tank? A Clean Tank Set-Up Guide

Any fish keeper will tell you that algae eaters or algivorous fish are an integral part of the aquarium ecosystem. They help in balancing the fish tank environment as they do in nature. Plus, they keep your tank clean and clear.

So, you should keep a lot of them to ensure the water is clear, right?

Not really. You should consider several factors before introducing algae eaters into the tank. 

In this article, I will guide you through everything you need to know about algae eaters. From how many algae eaters can go in a tank to maintaining them. So, let’s dive right in!

Algae Eater Fish: An Overview

Algae eater fish feed on the algae that builds up in your tank, which is a product of fish waste and other factors. While some of them feed on green algae, others feed on brown, so a combination of different algae eaters is a good idea.

They come in many colors, such as pink, brown, and black. Also, they come in many sizes ranging from 2 to 3 inches to 24 inches.

There are many types of algae eaters that you can introduce to your aquarium. Some of the most common types are hi fin, rubber lip, plecostomus, otocinclus, and bristlenose.

All these types of algae fish exhibit similar behavior. They are generally calm and can live in a semi-aggressive environment. At the same time, species like pleco can live peacefully in an aggressive environment as well.

Aquarium Size Guide For Algae Eaters – How Many Algae Eaters Can I Put In A Gallon Tank?

Algae Eater fish can cooperate well with other fish in small tanks as well as long tanks. They also look beautiful through the aquarium glasses. The beauty and the functionality make them an essential fish you can keep in your tank.

So, here’s a quick table guide that will help you decide how many of these fish you can keep in your tank.

Tank Size(Gallons)# Of Algae Eaters
201 to 5 
295 to 7
305 to 7
366 to 7
406 to 7
557 to 8


What Size Tank Do They Need?

The minimum size of the tank for algae eaters depends on the type of fish community you want to keep. Generally, these fish can grow up to 6 inches long, so you should keep at least a 20-gallon tank. 

If you choose to keep large algae eater fish, you have to at least keep a 55 to 60-gallon tank.

You can apply the golden rule here, so you have to calculate the size depending on the type of fish you choose. Once you know the size, you can divide the gallons of water by the size. So, this is how the formula will look like.

Total Number of Algae Eater Fish You Can Keep in The Tank = Total Gallons of Water/ Size of Fish in Inches

What Happens When Too Many Algae Eaters Are Put in a Small Gallon Tank?

Algae eaters can help clean the aquarium ecosystem does not mean they cannot make it dirty. Owing to the nature of the diet, they can produce more waste than other fish. Therefore, you should be careful with the number of algae eaters.

What Happens When There Are Too Few Algae Eaters in a Large Gallon Tank?

There will not be any problem if you keep too few algae eaters in a large fish tank. You can employ other methods to combat the algae problem. 

You can keep algae eater shrimp, snails, and clams instead of fish. Moreover, if you set up your fish tank properly and clean it regularly, you do not have to worry about the number of algae eater fish.


How Many Algae Eaters Should Be Present per Gallon of Water?

The answer depends on how large the algae eater is. Generally, it is best to keep six fish in at least a 40-gallon tank.

Can You Overstock on Algae Eaters?

Yes, you can overstock on algae eaters. It can backfire and create algae bloom in your tank.

What Is the Minimum Size of a Tank for Algae Eaters?

The minimum size of the tank for algae eaters is 20-gallon. However, I recommend 40-gallons or more.

Do Algae Eaters Need to Be In Groups?

Algae eaters are social creatures who thrive in a group. However, they can do pretty well even when they are alone.

How Long Do Algae Eaters Live?

The lifespan depends on the type of fish. Nonetheless, a typical algae eater, the Chinese algae eater, can live up to 10 years.

How Fast Do Algae Eaters Grow?

The growth rate depends on environmental conditions. Nonetheless, they grow very fast, and you can notice them reaching maturity in 4 to 8 weeks.

Final Takeaway

Algae fish is an amazing addition to your fish tank! They can clean and make your tank environment more interesting while maintaining calm with other fish. 

If you keep their species size and the tank size in mind, you can raise many healthy algae eater fish. With that said, it’s time to introduce the cleaning crew to your aquarium!

References, Credits, and Further Reading

Pet Stores You Can Return Fish To

Do Fish Mourn