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Thread: Algae eaters for African Cichlid tank?

  1. #1

    Default Algae eaters for African Cichlid tank?

    I have a few Anubias in my 75G tank and they are covered with algae. Is there anything I can put in the tank to help clean them? I had a 4 inch Pleco but he got eaten after a few weeks

    These are my fish. They are about 1 year old with the biggest one (Bumblebee) around 4 inches. Thanks.

    Yellow Lab (Labidochromis caeruleus) x 2
    Jewel (Hemichromis bimaculatus ) x 2
    Kenyi (Pseudotropheus lombardoi) x 1
    Auratus (Melanochromis Auratus) x 1
    Bumblebee (Pseudotropheus crabro) x 1
    Acei (Pseudotropheus Acei) x 1
    Peacock (Aulonocara hansbaenschi ) x 1
    Snowwhite (Pseudotropheus socolofi) x 1
    Frontosa (Cyphotilapia frontosa) x 1

  2. #2


    I don't know if these can live with cichlids, but in my planted tank, we have nerite snails (onion snails) and a "candy" snail (no idea what it actually is). They do a great job keeping algae from the plants. The candy snail is fairly large too.
    75 gallon
    C. Afra "cobue", Labidochromis chisumulae, M. joanjohnsonae,
    65 gallon
    Ps. acei, Ps.cyaneorhabdos, I. spengerae
    46 Bow front
    Ps. saulosi, Labidochromis chisumulae

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Hollywood Florida



    Contrary to what many here have had success doing, I have always been unable to keep BN plecos with my mbuna. They always get harassed to death in a very short period of time. As an alternative, I began using the green variety of nerite snails known as olive (a/k/a shark eye) nerites. They are the BEST algae remover I have ever had, so much so I keep them in all my tanks.

    At a ratio of one snail per 10 -15 gallons, they can plow through the worst of algae. I use them for the very purpose you have stated, restoring the anubius leaves back to their shiny state. I added four, about the size of a marble, to a 75-gallon planted tank, decorated with petrified wood that was covered with lush green algae and they restored and have kept the stones to near pristine condition ever since.

    In my shellie/julie tank loaded with anubius and java fern, they keep the plant leaves clean with no threat to the fry and no disturbance to the shell bed.

    They do have one drawback, although they do not reproduce in fresh water, they will lay eggs throughout the aquarium but they do not hatch. The eggs (the size of sesame seeds) can be an annoying eyesore but IMHO well worth the benefit of keeping the snail. I allow the eggs to remain on the decorations, plants and side/back glass but can be removed from the front panel with minimal effort during normal maintenance.

    For me, olive nerite snails are hard working, low impact on the bio-load and a welcomed addition to my tanks.

    Hope this helps.

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  4. #4


    I've had lots of luck with Chinese Algae Eaters, mine started out as 2", now the two of them are 6" and still doing their job very well. They might be something to look into.

  5. #5


    I haven't had any issues with BN plecos or larger plecos. I would not recommend the snails listed above as they will lay little white eggs ALL OVER your tank and they require a razor to scrap off. They absolutely ruined on of my planted show tanks with their specks. Chinese AEs will stop eating algae when they mature and will increase their aggression. Find yourself an nice armored pleco and provide lots of hiding spots that the plecos and enter. They are mostly active at night and will clean your tank nice before the lights kick on.

  6. #6


    Be careful with pleco's if use use aquarium salt. Mine kept dying and I had no clue why. It turned out to be all the salt in my tank 2 tsp per 4 gallons.

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  7. #7


    so far my L200a and L199 have been good and healthy with all my African cichlids. I hope it stays like that would think the bigger you get the better. That way they can hold their own

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Fort Campbell, KY


    I got BN, rubber lipped and clown pleco. Going to add some more BN soon, but have been thinking snails. Everything I have in my tank right now works though. I
    10gal - F1 Aul sp Lwanda Fry
    20gal - F1 Aul Flavescent (Recovering)
    20gal - Cyno Zebroides Chimate Fry
    29gal - Multis
    50gal - WC Aul Lwanda Breeding Group 1m/3f
    50gal - BNP fry, Cyno sp Lion Fry
    55gal - Met OB Blueberry Zebra Slim, Cyno Zebroides Chimate, Cyno sp Lion "Lions Cove"
    72gal - Bemba Flame Tropheus, Simichromis Babaulti
    125gal - All Male Hap/Peacock Tank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    louisville ky


    I use bristle nose plecos and they are eating machines!

  10. #10


    I have been experimenting with nerite snails. So far the one in the saulosi tank is doing great and eating algae. I'm thinking to add more. They do leave eggs on things. HOWEVER I have found a way to combat that. We have several of these snails in a planted tank and a yo-yo botia. The botia seems to eat the eggs. My only question would be if the botia could adjust to live with mbuna or if it would be in danger (due to size). Or if the botia would eat fry.
    75 gallon
    C. Afra "cobue", Labidochromis chisumulae, M. joanjohnsonae,
    65 gallon
    Ps. acei, Ps.cyaneorhabdos, I. spengerae
    46 Bow front
    Ps. saulosi, Labidochromis chisumulae

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    I have had a bristlenose pleco in a 55 gal with africans for a little less than a year now. I also put one in my 33 gal with about 20 red top zebras of various sizes and all seem to be doing just fine. The bn pleco keeps the 55 very clean. and I am hoping the same happens in the 33.

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