6 Algae-eating Pond Fish

Globs of algae sit on the surface of a pond.

By just selecting specific pond fish, you can easily control the amount of algae that grows in your backyard pond. Algae is a green film that is the result of a collection of microscopic plants that contain chlorophylla, and it is part of any type of pond. Algae live and grow in stagnant water and can quickly fill an entire pond if the conditions are right and nothing is done to prevent it.

How Algae Grows

Algae grows in small ponds for of a number of reasons. When the pond is exposed to lots of sunlight, or there are high levels of nitrate in the water, algae will grow. Hot and humid weather will also usher in algae growth, especially when the water if stagnant without any filter. If there are any decaying leaves in the pond, or if there is a lack of aquatic plants, algae can thrive as well. One way to keep algae under control is through introducing algae-eating pond fish into your pond.

1. Pond Snail

While this animal is not really a fish, they do a great job at eating built-up algae. They are also quite hearty and can withstand temperatures close to freezing. When the amount of algae in the pond gets high, these snails will immediately set to work on it.

2. Siamese Algae Eater

These fish can reach lengths of up to six to eight inches and work well with other fish. They will eat a wide variety of different algae from clumps to single strands, and they will not eat other aquatic plants. Unlike pond snails, they are sensitive to temperature and must be kept in waters that are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

3. Common Plecostomus

A large fish for pond standards, reaching lengths of up to 12 inches or more, this fish thrives on algae. They are commonly found in many pet stores and must be kept in waters are between 72 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. They react well with other fish, but may attach themselves to fish that are a little larger than they are.

4. Chinese Algae Eater

Another large pond fish, growing up to 11 inches in length, the Chinese Algae Eater is a finicky eater when it comes to algae. If there are any clumps of algae, or algae that is attached to rocks, plants, or sides of the pond, then this fish will eat it. However, because of their size, they can be aggressive towards other fish species, so take time doing your research. Testing different pond fish to find out which ones they coincide nicely with will help a great deal.

5. Flying Fox

A medium-sized fish, the Flying Fox is well-mannered when it comes to getting along with different species, but this fish has also been known to chase around its own species. They will eat large clumps of algae as it is forming to keep your pond fresh and clear. They are a warm weather pond fish that like their water above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Gold Nugget Pleco

Not only a nice fish to look at but a great pond fish for keeping algae clean from the surface of the water, the Gold Nugget Pleco can grow to over eight inches in length and is a good tempered fish. However, the water must be kept warm, above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, in order for the fish to survive.