20 Best Algae Eaters for Betta Tanks: Keeping Things Clean

Betta aquariums are tough to keep clean. Changing the water and constant cleaning takes time busy families don’t have.

But this is where adding one of the best algae eaters for a betta tank comes in.

I get it; we cleaned my son’s first Betta fish tank weekly until I caved in and got some good algae-eating fish.

Ahead, we’ll talk about favorite algae eaters, basic care info, and pictures too!

#1 Malaysian Trumpet Snail

malaysian trumpet snails
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Water pH: 7.0-7.5
  • Water Temp: 70-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

Trumpet snails are one of the most standard algae eaters added to a fish tank. 

Many pet stores will add them to large tanks to help keep down the algae buildup. 

You don’t need to worry about caring for the Malaysian snail at all as long as the care needs above are met. 

They do a great job of eating and cleaning droppings and algae which have dropped down to the substrate.

Malaysian trumpet snails will feed on live plants, too, if you have them in your tank. 

They are the perfect tank mate for Bettas, as they won’t even react to one another. 

Warning! They reproduce quickly, so watch out for them taking over your fish tank. 

#2 Ramshorn Snail

ramshorn snail
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Water pH: 7.0-7.5
  • Water Temp: 70-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

The Ramshorn snail species is an awesome addition to your Betta tank.

They fit in perfectly with the care needs of the Betta. And this snail adds a unique look to the aquarium with its swirled shell.

Ramshorn snails are great for eating and clearing anything and everything they can get their mouths on.

They’ll eat:

  • Fish droppings
  • Shed scales
  • Algae
  • Leftover fish flakes
  • Dead fish
  • Live plants
  • Anything organic

On top of all this, they also are quite quick to move and flexible, allowing them to get to any number of places.

They’ll keep your tank algae down to manageable levels. 

#3 Rabbit Snail

rabbit snail
  • Care Level: Easy-Medium
  • Lifespan: 1-3 years
  • Water pH: 7.2-7.5
  • Water Temp: 76-84° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C)

Rabbit snails are another common option for an algae-eating snail.

Like the others on our list, it lives well with the Betta.

But in terms of care, it requires a little more help than some others.

Yes, the rabbit snail (or elephant snail, as it’s sometimes called) eats algae and decomposing material.

But this isn’t enough for this ferocious eater. It’ll also need supplements to the diet.

#4 Nerite Snail

  • Care Level: Easy-Medium
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Water pH: 7.5
  • Water Temp: 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

Nerite snails are a cool addition, though one you may not think of compared to the other snails. 

These guys do a good job of cleaning up algae, but they do have two main requirements compared to others: 

  1. They need more algae to eat, so regular algae wafers are necessary. 
  2. They require water circulation to stay healthy. 

Make sure you have the ability to meet these needs before getting Nerite Snails. 

#5 Amano Shrimp

amano shrimp
  • Care Level: Easy-Medium
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Water pH: 7.2-7.5
  • Water Temp: 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

Amano shrimp are industrious cleaners. 

If you’re like me and never considered shrimp as an option for your Betta tank growing up, I’d start with the Amano. 

They love to clean and eat algae and other organic matter, making them perfect algae eaters. 

It’s amazing how much help they give keeping the tank clean. 

Caring for them is simple; you don’t have to do much beyond feed them the occasional shrimp pellets. 

If other fish and live plants are in the tank, you may not need to do this either! 

The biggest concern is the initial shock of switching tanks. They are sensitive to water temperature changes and will die fairly easily from it. 

Get the tank water to match its container water as close as possible before transferring. 

#6 Bamboo Shrimp

bamboo shrimp
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 1-2 years
  • Water pH: 7.0-7.5
  • Water Temp: 68-85° degrees Fahrenheit (29 C)

Bamboo shrimp are pretty fun to watch eat and clean the tank. 

They often don’t need much in terms of supplemental food, either. 

Their favorite way to eat is to collect food and waste particles floating through a water current. 

They’ll often float in place with their claws like mitts and scoop up food bits. Bamboo shrimp are quite avid algae eaters!  

If they float without moving for a while, make sure to watch them closely.

In some cases, they’ll be preparing to molt, while others may mean the water quality is off. 

#7 Ghost Shrimp

ghost shrimp
  • Care Level: Very easy
  • Lifespan: up to 1 year
  • Water pH: 7.0-8.0 
  • Water Temp: 72-82° degrees Fahrenheit (28° C)

Ghost shrimp or glass shrimp is one of the most common algae eaters to pair with Betta fish. 

They are super easy to care for, eat almost anything, and don’t die easily. 

But they also don’t live long at all. So keep this in mind. 

#8 Cherry Shrimp

cherry shrimp
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Water pH: 7.0-7.8
  • Water Temp: 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

Cherry shrimp are another common shrimp species to add to many freshwater tanks. 

They’re fun to watch and don’t require much care beyond getting the tank right and offering food. 

They also eat algae, but they aren’t the cleaners some of the options on our list are. 

They’ll help, but they won’t keep it too neat or eliminate algae growth altogether. 

Warning! Take care when transitioning them into a tank because they are more likely to die from the stress of a transfer. 

#9 Plecastomus

pleco fish
  • Care Level: Easy 
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Water pH: 7.0-8.0 
  • Water Temp: 74-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C)

Plecastomus and the whole plecos family are among the best additions to a Betta tank. 

These hardy fish will eat regular fish flakes and help keep the algae levels down in your aquarium. 

They also live a long time, so be prepared to get attached! 

#10 Clown Pleco

clown pleco
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Water pH: 6.8-7.6
  • Water Temp: 73-82° degrees Fahrenheit (28° C)

A variant of the previous item on the list, the Clown pleco, has some slightly different requirements, though they behave much the same. 

These are a bit more interesting to look at in your tank compared to the average pleco species.  

In direct sunlight, they look beautiful (though this will also encourage algae growth). 

#11 Cory Catfish

cory catfish
  • Care Level: Easy-Medium
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Water pH: 7.0-7.8
  • Water Temp: 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

Cory catfish are good algae eaters, social fish, and fun to watch swim around the tank. 

They like live plants and deep substrate (2″ inches), but they are a bit sadder on their own. 

Pair them up with another Cory, and they’ll do better. 

#12 Bristlenose Catfish

bristlenose catfish
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Lifespan: 5-12 years
  • Water pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Water Temp: 60-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C)

These bottom-dwellers are a bit controversial in the fish world. 

They look super unique (if a little creepy to some!). 

They aren’t hard to care for, but they are pretty sensitive to water changes and low oxygen levels. 

Bristlenose catfish (or Bristlenose plecos as they’re sometimes called) also quickly get diseases.  

#13 Otocinclus Catfish

otocinclus catfish algae eaters for betta fish
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Water pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Water Temp: 72-82° degrees Fahrenheit (28° C)

Otos or dwarf-sucking catfish are iconic. 

They are great cleaners and love to use their sucker mouths on all surfaces, especially the windowed sides of your tank. 

They’re kind of pushovers, so don’t put them with too many other aggressive species, or they’ll get stressed. 

#14 Siamese Algae Eater

siamese algae eater
  • Care Level: Easy-Medium
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Water pH: 6.5-7.0 
  • Water Temp: 75-79° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

The Siamese Algae Eater (SAE for short) isn’t the most striking in appearance, but it’s known for gobbling algae like it’s nobody’s business. 

It’s in their name, after all. 

They get along with other fish well and live quite a while. And they aren’t too sensitive to changes in water. 

I put this in the easy-medium category for care for two reasons: 

  1. They need more space to move and hide constantly. They must always remain in motion. 
  2. SAE need fish food on top of all the algae they eat. 

This isn’t too big of a deal, but it’s more than some of the other passive options on the list. 

But the SAE (also called Chinese Algae Eater) is a voracious algae eater and performs better than almost any other species. 

#15 Flying Fox

flying fox fish
  • Care Level: Easy-medium
  • Lifespan: 8 years
  • Water pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Water Temp: 68-79° degrees (26° C)

The Flying Fox fish is often mistaken for the Siamese Algae Eater because they look so similar. 

In terms of care requirements, too, they’re almost the same. 

The biggest thing they need is the space to swim around as they must also be in constant motion. 

In truth, they are excellent algae eaters, but nothing quite like the SAE. 

#16 Common Molly

common molly fish
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 3-5 years
  • Water pH: 7.5-8.5
  • Water Temp: 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C)

The common Molly fish isn’t going to win any awards for its looks, but it’s a cute enough fish. 

These little guys will eat algae too but not to the amount of some other fish. 

But, they are fun to watch and social fish. 

They don’t like to be left alone, so we recommend getting a mini-school of 4-6 fish to keep in your tank. 

With this amount, they’ll do a better job of keeping the algae down too. 

#17 Guppies

guppies best algae eater for betta tank
  • Care Level: Very easy
  • Lifespan: 2-5 years
  • Water pH: 7.5-8.0
  • Water Temp: 64-84° degrees Fahrenheit* (29° C)

*The middle of this range is best for them. 

Guppies aren’t known for their algae eating, but they’ll help keep the levels down in your tank to a small degree. 

But Guppies are a great addition to any freshwater tank, and they get along with Betta fish well. 

Guppies are tough little fish, and we recommend this fish as a perfect choice for those new to keeping fish.

Of course, we also recommend Betta as well! 

But Guppies are an overall forgiving species. They: 

  • Have a wide temp range
  • Enjoy eating pretty much anything
  • Don’t fight with other fish
  • Can live in small tanks well
  • Are fun to watch! 

All in all, if you want this species to help with algae, go for it! It’s a great tank mate for almost any fish. 

#18 Kuhli Loach

kuhli loach
  • Care Level: Hard
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Water pH: 5.5-6.5
  • Water Temp: 73-86° degrees Fahrenheit (30° C)

The Kuhli loach is an interesting-looking fish that loves to eat algae. 

But it’s just hard to care for. 

They are prone to illness and parasites and quite sensitive to changes in water conditions. 

I recommend this fish only if you’re a pro or really dedicated to mastering it. 

My grandma loves keeping fish, and she said this is one of the toughest to keep alive. 

Despite all this, their diet is pretty standard and easy to take care of. It’s just everything else that’s tough about them.

#19 Whiptail Catfish

whiptail catfish
  • Care Level: Easy-Medium
  • Lifespan: 8 years
  • Water pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Water Temp: 75-84° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C)

This nocturnal catfish is marked by its iconic whip-like tail. 

The Whiptail catfish is a tough addition to any tank, meaning it’s not likely just to get sick and die. 

They eat anything, including algae, though this won’t sustain them. They also need regular fish food. 

As juveniles, they’ll work to limit algae buildup well, but as adults, they don’t do it as much. 

Overall, they are peaceful fish, though they’re not amazing algae eaters. 

#20 Endler’s Livebearer

endlers livebearer
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Water pH: 5.5-8.0/
  • Water Temp: 64-84° degrees Fahrenheit* (29° C)

*The middle range here is best for the Endler’s Livebearer. 

Endler’s Livebearers are common freshwater fish, and you’ll often find them in pet stores near the Betta fish. 

These little guys get along just fine with the Bettas and do a surprisingly good job of eating algae for their small size. 

Of course, being so small, don’t expect them to make much of a dent in it overall. 

Despite their smaller size, they need a large tank. These are active fish and like to move around. 

They also need live plant matter for hiding and dropping bits of dead plants. 

Be careful with keeping too many of these fish. They like to mate and spawn frequently! 

Algae Eaters Are Your Friend

Keeping up with a betta fish’s tank is one of the hardest parts of keeping them. They can really dirty up their aquariums!

But this is where a good-fitting algae eater like the Ghost Shrimp or Siamese Algae Eater will make your life much easier.

They’ll add some cool aesthetics to your fish’s home too!

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Zach VanderGraaff is a huge fan of helping people find the right information online, so when he heard Wesley was starting an online resource for betta fish, he knew had to get on board. Zach enjoys spending time with his three crazy boys and two dogs and caring for his pet fish.

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