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For many aquarists, algae eaters are creatures that absolutely must be in the tank. They are distinguished not only by their interesting exterior, but also by the role they have to play. The pet is a member of the so-called cleaning group – it helps to clean the aquarium of excess algae. However, it will not work with all fish. What are the habits and requirements of the algae eater? The male should predominate in the tanks, or maybe it is worth putting more females in the aquarium? What does it eat apart from algae? We answer these and other questions in the text!
Algae eaters – origin and characteristics
Algae eaters are fish that come from South America. In nature, they can be found in the Amazon basin, in Brazil and in other areas of the continent. However, most of the individuals that appear in aquariums were born in captivity. These fish come from breeding and breeding farms.
The size and appearance of the algae depend on the specific species. Fish can be of very different sizes – from 5 to even 50 centimeters.
Algae eaters – species
This is the most common species of algae eaters. It is quite gentle and will work well for less experienced aquarists. These fish are dark brown in color and have very distinct light spots on the body. Their body length is 12-13 centimeters.
The lower abdomen of the common armor is flat, which makes it easier for it to stick to surfaces from which it eats algae. Despite his gentle disposition, he has spikes on the gill fins, which increases his chances in combat. Its mouth is ended with a suction cup. You can meet him near the filter or the glass which “cleans the algae”.
Another non-aggressive (and even somewhat timid) species of algae eaters is the blue armor. Interestingly, his coat color can be not only gray, but also brown or black. Like the blue armor, it is covered with light spots. This species has wide pelvic fins and a fairly high dorsal fin.
Leopard armors are algae eaters that delight with their appearance. These very large fish can reach up to 60 centimeters in length. Therefore, they feel best in spacious aquariums (200 cm). Their hobby is sand digging, so put on such a surface.
Leopard armors hide in leaves and under plants. Delicate ones with weak roots will be quickly destroyed, so the aquarium should contain well-planted ones. The leopard armor is a very gentle fish, which, however, will gladly help its smaller companions. It gets along well with other large fish – for example, botsia.
Siamese algae eaten, unlike the species described above, are not mild fish. It is territorial and even aggressive. It grows up to 25 centimeters by itself, but needs an aquarium of at least 120 cm in length.
This fish spends most of its time at the bottom of the tank, so it is better to plant the aquarium with fish that inhabit its higher parts. However, the discs, to which the algae eater quickly cling to, definitely fall off.
An algae eater for an aquarium – what kind of tank to prepare?
The size and nature of the reservoir for an algae eater depends on the species you want to deal with. Leopard armors, which can reach up to half a meter in length, are intended only for very large aquariums, at least 200 centimeters long. Obviously, the smaller the algae eaters, the smaller the aquarium they can live in. However, a tank with a capacity of one hundred and twenty liters can be considered a minimum.
What kind of fish do algae eaters get along with?
Algae eaters can successfully live in species reservoirs. Then it is best to choose more females and slightly fewer males. However, if you want to include them in a mixed aquarium, the best solution is to get to know the habits of the species thoroughly.
Most of the popular varieties of armored fish are quite mild and peaceful fish. Nevertheless, you need to carefully select the cast for them, because some fish may be nibbled or even eaten by them. It is a myth that algae eaters are exclusively herbivores. Many of them feed on the eggs of the other fish, and even on themselves!
An algae – reproduction
Fish from this group are characterized by quite high dimorphism. How to find out the sex of an algae eater? The female does not have the antlers characteristic of the male. Here is the process of reproduction.
- Algae eaters are kept in secluded places (for example, in pits or stone hiding places).
- Spawning can be initiated by gradually lowering the temperature in the aquarium. You may also need to soften the water.
- The spawning process can take up to several days.
- The algae fry in mixed tanks are vulnerable to being eaten, so it will be wise to transfer the fish to another tank during spawning.
An algae – price
The price of an algae eater depends primarily on what species you want to choose. Much also depends on where the pet comes from. The most expensive fish are usually found in commercial pet stores, but their services should be used very carefully.
The prices listed below are indicative only. Their final height can be very different.
- common armor – from 10 to 15 zlotys;
- blue armor – from 5 to 45 zlotys;
- leopard armor – from 15 to 150 zlotys;
- Siamese algae eater – from 5 to 20 zlotys.
Glo-eater – how long is he alive?
The life span of algae eaters depends on many factors. We are talking mainly about conditions, diet and what kind of species they are. The largest leopard armors can live up to twenty years of age. Smaller varieties – common or blue – live up to ten years.
Algae eater – nutrition
The answer to the question of what to feed the algae eaters seems to be very simple. These fish, after all, eat algae. In fact, it is not that simple. The armored fish and other algae eaters living in the aquarium will not be satisfied only with algae.
As we mentioned, in nature, these fish eat not only plants. They also do not disdain larvae and adult insects. Depending on the species of the animal, the algae eater’s diet should be based on plant and protein food.
What vegetables should be given to algae eaters?
It is also worth feeding these fish with vegetables. Their real delicacy is cauliflower. However, they will also not despise:
Serve the vegetables only washed and preferably after cooking and peeling.
Products for algae eaters you can buy
Perfectly balanced mixtures for algae eaters are available in aquarium shops. They contain the right proportions of plants and meat. However, before you go shopping, be sure to check what species your algae eaters are. Some of them prefer plant food, while others are primarily carnivorous.
The latter are most likely to eat:
- other fish eggs;
- mosquito larvae;
- meat of other fish.
Many people mistakenly assume that algae eaters only feed on algae. Meanwhile, it turns out that this type of food is most eagerly eaten by young armors. The older the individual is, the more likely it is to choose a different type of food.
As you can see, there are actually several species of fish in the text about the algae eater. The only common denominator here is the love of algae consumption. You can choose fish of very different sizes, appearance and habits. It is very important to carefully understand the needs of a given species. Thanks to this, you will be able to adjust both the diet, the cast and the size of the aquarium to algae eaters.