Jump to content

Algae cleanup crew ideas


Recommended Posts

Living in Maine, I am finding a lot of the best algae clean up crew members are banned.

You cant have any invertebrates.  So all shimp and snails are out.

Hillstream Loach are banned.

otos are allowed and on my list, though I have heard they can be hard to keep alive.

Flying Fox are allowed (SAE) but probably would be happier in bigger than a 25 gallon tank.

American Flag are allowed, but i usually see reference to it being a cold water tank fish.  Having Green Neons and Dwarf Gourami, emerald green Cory, and Kuhli Loaches and have tank at 76-78 degrees.  Is the American Flag still an option?

I will likely have some Mollies as well which also supplements their diet with algae.

Bristlenose Plecostomose  is also an option.

Anybody have other ideas?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Fish Folk is good at native species maybe we have an idea for a native algae eater?

Otos are hard to get past the first couple of months- but once you get them there- they are there for whatever lifespan left pretty much and they are worth it. DEFINITELY a fish you want a quarantine since they are wild caught- and you want to be prepared with things from your main tank like pieces of driftwood/rocks/decor you can rotate out for them to eat algae and biofilm off of during that time. I always recommend people give them access to commercial food from the beginning because they tend to make short work of available algae that they will eat- and again we want to get them over the 2 month (ish) mark. I wouldn't add them until your tank is very well established- younger tanks have less a chance to keep them alive. They won't eat hair algae- mostly only brown diatom, biofilm and very low pile algae types. They are SUPER low on the bioload scale- I have 70+ in a 20 gallon tank with no issues.

There are lots of bristlenose keepers here that can clue you in on the types of clean up they can do but plecos are very high on the bioload scale. People like @Guppysnail breeds her beautiful long fins. They also definitely require supplemental feeding.

It's a shame you can't have Nerites. 

Mollies will definitely help! My male Guppies keep my Flex9 very clean of a lot of detrius (they also ate all the Hydra in that tank). 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might help us to see a few photos of your tank(s) to get perspective.

I love algae, so I do not worry about removing it.

Ancistrus (Bristlenose / Bushynose Plecos) eat some of the early-tank-syndrome brown algae off tank glass, but won’t touch other types.

Crossocheilus oblongus (Siamese Algae Eater — easily confused with Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus, the “Flying Fox”) will nibble at _some_ algae, but prefer protein-rich foods, leaving lots of tank algae untouched.

I have seven huge SAEs in here, and about give adult BNPs. They do not clean up all that much…


Jordanella floridae (Florida Flagfish) will eat certain shaggy algae types. They can survive in the 70s, but I’d add an airstone to maximize oxygen levels.   However, do yourself a favor and _only buy frmales_. These are Pupfish. Males get really nasty when breeding. Females have a black spot at the rear base of their dorsal fins. Here are two photos showing female vs male…



Anyway, share photos and let us know what your thoughts are!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tank was planted April 11th. 29 gallon.

first batch of fish are in quarantine tank.(not shown). 6 green neons, 4 emerald green Corydoras, a Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami, and 3 Kuhli loaches.

The sponge filter is there to cycle in case I need it for the quarantine tank.

Algae has not been a problem.  I dose the tank daily with Simple Green right now as there are  no fish, and hence no fish food.  In morning nitrates are down a bit below 20 ppm Nitrate. I use 3 pumps simple green daily.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Otocinclus are really great fish. If you’re at least an advanced beginner aquarist you’ll be able to keep them. I don’t think they’re the most hardy fish I’ve kept, but for me they’re on par with wild caught Neon or Rummy nose tetras.  Here’s my recipe to give them the absolute best chance. 

-pick out ones with round bellies if possible

-add them to a tank that already has algae, preferably diatoms. 

-add supplemental food if they don’t seem to be eating enough, again look for the little round bellies. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/4/2022 at 5:14 AM, Pepere said:

You cant have any invertebrates.  So all shimp and snails are out.

Something to look into.  https://www.theshrimpfarm.com/posts/dwarf-shrimp-illegal-in-maine/

It's a very old post, so maybe there's been progress. Especially with recent events.

Here's the list. https://www.maine.gov/IFW/docs/unrestrictedspecies.pdf



5. Requests to Review or Change the Categorization of a Species: must be made on application forms provided by the department. Requests should be mailed to Wildlife Division Inland Fisheries & Wildlife 353 Water Street Augusta, ME 04330. Applicants shall bear the burden of proof in proving that a species belongs in the requested category. Applications submitted with supporting documentation are evaluated by the commissioner or commissioner's designee and the Technical Committee.

It may also just be easier than you think to get a permit. This site lists them. Although, I cannot find a list of species that are prohibited and/or that are restricted.


From the allowed list, rainbow shark might be a good one. and you should be able to get SAEs

Edit: https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/import_cat2.pdf


Edited by nabokovfan87
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I found this….

Snails - Because they serve as intermediate host for a wide range of aquatic parasites and other pathogens, all snails (Gastropoda) are restricted and can be imported only by a special importation permit with specific health certifications, therefore snails cannot be traded by commercial pet shops.Jul 31, 2008

I understand trying to keep invasive animals out of the waters.  I get it.  
So what they are saying (unless law changed) if I plants in Maine they are snail free?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/4/2022 at 4:57 PM, Brian said:

I would love to know just who is supporting these laws in Maine.   I was reading Jack Dempsy are on the list.  I wouldn’t think they would be able to winter over night Maine?

It's basically an issue of it's not allowed until they allow it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nabokovfan87 wrote:  “It also sounds like you can go collecting for some:”

Well, that is nice to know.  Now my first thought, is that I am 56 years old and have spent a lot of summers on Maine lakes.  I have seen no end of Crayfish, but I have never noticed a Freshwater shrimp in Maine.  I started wondering?  Do they even exist in Maine?


 “With 315 freshwater species, crayfish are a much more diverse group than freshwater shrimp, of which there are only 19 species.“

It certainly bears researching further… while I love the brilliant pop of color with the Neocaradina, I really love the algae cleaning…

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Colu, Bristlenose are still on the consideration list. Chief negative for me is the amount of bioload, size.   Biggest fish in my tank is the Dwarf Gourami, and Kuhli Loaches.  I opted for the Green Neons specifically as they stay small.

I love the look of a lot of 1/2 inch long Neon Tetras swimming in a tank,and would be thrilled to keep them at that length.

A larger number of smaller fish appeals to me more. It is a preference, but not an absolute.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flumpweesel, thanks for the suggestion.  Unfortunately Garras re not on the unrestricted list.


Brian Jack Dempseys are allowed in Maine.  The state does not have a banned list per se, but rather a list of fish that you can keep without restrictions.


I have no stomach for dealing with government agencies  to either apply for a permit to keep restrictive species or petition for inclusion on the unrestricted list.  I am 56, and have no desire to send any of my remaining life on earth in such endeavors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...