What Are the Best Algae Eaters for goldfish? Uncovering the Truth on How to Care for the Top 9 Goldfish Tank Mates

What are the best algae eaters for goldfish? Learn more about our top 9 algae eaters that can live with your goldfish.

The ideal algae eaters for a goldfish tank include snails, loaches, certain types of catfish and plecos, and platyfish. These algae eaters tend to be docile, safe from hungry or curious goldfish, and like the same type and temperature of the water as goldfish.

This article will look at the best types of algae eaters for your goldfish tank, how to add them to the tank, and how to feed them.

What Goldfish Parameters Does the Algae Eater Have to Match?

Just like the goldfish, your tank’s algae eaters will need to have similar parameters, such as a tank size of at least 30 gallons (20 gallons for the goldfish, and adding more gallons depending on the number of tank mates), keeping the water between 60-70 Fahrenheit for fancy goldfish tanks, and 68-74 Fahrenheit for comet and shubunkins.

Your algae eater’s pH tolerance should be similar to the goldfish in the range of 7.0 and 8.4.

Is There a Difference in Parameters Between Common Goldfish and Fancy Goldfish?

There is no difference between fancy goldfish and ordinary goldfish care except when they grow in size. Common goldfish typically grow larger than fancy goldfish, thereby requiring a larger tank set up in the future to accommodate.

fancy goldfish

Can Common Goldfish and Fancy Goldfish Have the Same Algae Eaters?

You will want to ensure the Common Goldfish will not try to eat your algae eater, as they may try to eat a fish or tank mate smaller than it. And you will want to make sure that any tank mates with fancy goldfish do not swim too fast, thereby outswimming the fancy goldfish for food.

How to Know if an Algae Eater Will be Compatible with Your Goldfish? 

Here are a few guidelines on how to know if an algae eater will be compatible with your goldfish:

  • Choose non-aggressive algae eaters, as goldfish are also relatively peaceful.
  • Choose an algae eater based on the speed of your goldfish. Fancy goldfish are slow swimmers and are more likely to be bullied and experience a food shortage due to arriving at the feeding spot last. 
  • Avoid small, spiny algae-eating fish as goldfish are curious and like to put everything in their mouths, including other fish, so avoiding any species that could fit in their mouths would be ideal as this avoids any missing tank mates or choking hazards later on.

What Are the Top Nine Algae Eaters for Goldfish?

Here are our top choices on algae-eating tank mates for goldfish:

  • Freshwater Nerite Snail.
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snail.
  • Ramshorn Snail.
  • Hillstream Loach.
  • Hog-nosed Catfish (Brochis multiradiatus.)
  • Dojo Loach.
  • Bristlenose Pleco.
  • Rubber nose Pleco.
  • Variatus Platy.

PetKeenOpens in a new tab. and Aquarium CoopOpens in a new tab. detail these algae-eaters, what they’re like, and how they help in a goldfish tank.

How Do You Add Algae Eaters to a Goldfish Tank?

Be careful not to overstock your tank as you add in algae eaters; an overstocked tank dirties the water fast and will require more time and attention to keep the water clean. Try adding one fish or algae eater a month, and test the water parameters to ensure the water stays clean.

A good guideline is to add no more than one fish per 20-30 gallons, according to Kenneth WingerterOpens in a new tab. at PetMD. This will allow your tank ecosystem to remain healthy, avoid quick waste buildup, and let your fish live long and healthy lives.

goldfish below water surface

How Do You Feed Your Algae Eater Along With a Goldfish?

Here is a list of feeding guides to ensure your algae eater is getting enough food:

  • Freshwater Nerite Snail: If your tank has lots of algae and only a few of these herbivores, your snails will be well-fed for a long time. If, however, the algae levels drop, you can supplement your nerite’s diet with algae wafers, boiled, and then cooled vegetables such as carrots, kale, zucchini, and spinach.
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snail: These snails are great at cleaning up a tank, eating algae, leftover fish flakes, bottom feeder tablets, pellets, debris, detritus, and edible bits that fall off aquatic plants. To supplement their diet (if necessary), algae wafers or sinkable pellets can be put near them in the substrate. 
  • Ramshorn Snail: These snails prefer soft algae, dead plant matter, uneaten fish food, and fallen tank mates. To supplement them, you can boil and cool various vegetables or give them flakes, pellets, sinking tablets, algae wafers, and calcium-rich supplements.
  • Hillstream Loach: Loaches are omnivores and grazers, feeding on algae and debris. You can give them larvae, frozen or live brine shrimp, fish flakes or pellets, and algae wafers to supplement their diet.
  • Hog-nosed Catfish (Brochis multiradiatus): These omnivores will eat almost anything that sinks into the bottom of the tank, and they enjoy plant matter and algae. To supplement their diet, you can feed them dried, live, and frozen fish foods.
  • Dojo Loach: Being omnivores, they will eat algae and anything else you give them, such as boiled and cooled vegetables, sinking pellets, and live or frozen fish food.
  • Bristlenose Pleco: They are predominantly herbivores, meaning 75% of their diet should include plant-based food such as soft algae, algae wafers, plant-based sinking pellets, and vegetables such as cabbage.
  • Rubber nose Pleco: These plecos have the same diet as Bristlenose Plecos, eating mainly algae and plant-based foods, and can be supplemented with sinking plant pellets, algae wafers, and a variety of vegetables such as peas.
  • Variatus Platy: Being omnivores, your platy may be hungry after eating all the algae, so you will want to supplement their diet with various food such as flakes, pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods.


Goldfish are a fortunate species of fish that allows for a large variety of tank makes, especially those that enjoy eating primarily algae.

As long as there is enough space for the extra tank mates and adjustments in the cleaning schedule are made to incorporate the added bioload, your goldfish and your new algae friends will get along perfectly well in their tank and provide a lot of entertaining activity for the aquarist to enjoy.


My name is Jaap, and I am a passionate shrimp and fish enthusiast. I rediscovered my love for this hobby with my son and want to share our knowledge and tips with you on this aquarium blog. We cover topics such as setting up and maintaining an aquarium, feeding and breeding your shrimp and fish, and creating the perfect environment for them to thrive.

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