One of the topics that comes up often in aquaria is dealing with algae. It is not surprising that folks in the aquarium hobby and trade often look for natural solutions. Some saltwater fish eat algae and in this article, we will point out the species we found to be the best at it.
I have to start with the Bristletooth Yellow Eye Kole tang which is my personal favorite algae-eating saltwater fish. Let’s start with the subtle handsome look – this fish is burgundy with stripes and sports a yellow ring around it’s eye. This is a very active fish that grazes on algae in the tank non-stop. They become confident in the aquarium quickly and don’t waste any time going to work. Like others in its Ctenochaetus family, the kole tang unique bristle-like teeth allowing it to sift and scrape algae from many surfaces.
The Bristletooth Tomini tang (aka flame-fin tang) is very similar to the Kole tang and is from the same Ctenochaetus family. It’s a great fish for grazing algae but in our experience is more skittish when compared to the Kole tang.
The Lawnmower blenny is a small fish with a big personality. It is very active and appears to be jumping from one rock to another grazing algae. It is a rather bland fish and often camouflages well in the aquarium among the rocks. It is a beneficial fish that is inexpensive and fun to watch.
One of the best-looking tangs has to be the Naso Tang. The Naso tang is a great fish for algae control especially brown varieties. It’s been know to eat nuisance algae that is brown and leafy. Like other tangs it will graze on algae throughout the day helping keep the aquarium clean.
The Desjardini Tang is also known as the Red Sea Sailfin tang and is a gorgeous addition to any saltwater aquarium. I single out the Desjardini Tang from its very close relative the Sailfin Tang because it has more often than not has helped us rid aquariums of bubble algae. Whether you have bubble algae in your tank or not, this is a beneficial species that is sure to impress and contribute to algae cleanup.