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Do African Cichlids Eat Algae? 5 Things to Consider

Some African cichlids like to eat algae, especially the herbivorous ones. The problem with cichlids in general is that they absolutely love to eat and uproot aquatic plants. Many Mbuna cichlids from Lake Malawi are going to be more than eager to eat algae in a home aquarium.

Although algae can look decorative in your tank, you might not want it to grow in excessive amounts. Counting on your African cichlids to eat all the algae is not the best option. You might either need to get some algae eater fish or clean up all the algae by yourself.

Next up, we are going to explain the algae eating habits of African cichlids. Then, we are going to continue by recommending some algae eaters for you and our favorite cleaning tool as well!

What Type of Algae Will African Cichlids Eat?

They prefer to eat soft algae, since it is the easiest for them to digest. If there are some harder algae in your aquarium such as the Black Beard, they are only going to nibble on it. They don’t hate it, but this type of algae is simply too hard for them to consume in bigger amounts.

In case there is some softer algae available besides that, they won’t even bother nibbling on the harder one. What they really find delicious is the Hair algae that can grow as long as 10-12 inches. Give them a bigger rock covered with this alga and they are going to go crazy about it.

Growing it at home can be difficult because your African cichlids are going to eat it too quickly. You might need to do that in a separate aquarium.

Can African Cichlids Eat Black Beard Algae?

As we mentioned above, African cichlids usually pick soft algae over the harder types. The Black Beard algae falls into the hard category and very few fish can consume it.

For example, the Siamese algae eater is going to be more than eager to eat these algae if that is the only type in the tank.

If it can find some softer ones in the aquarium, however, then the Black Beard algae is going to be left untouched until all the soft ones are gone.

When it comes to African cichlids, on the other hand, they are only going to nibble on the Black Beard from time to time.

In a home aquarium, it pretty much looks like fur coat. The most decorative is the red one, but there are also black, gray and green Black Beard algae. Since it prefers to grow near water flow, it is going to appear near the filter or powerhead.

If nibbling is not enough, you can always get a Siamese algae eater. They love to eat Black Beard algae.

Can African Cichlids Eat Blue Green Algae?

In fact, Blue Green algae is basically cyanobacteria. It is toxic and you should not let your African cichlids eat it.

Once you notice that these algae have somehow got in your tank, remove it immediately. In that case, your aquarium is going to need a thorough cleaning and treatment.

Leaving it in your tank will completely ruin the water parameters. Many researchers have claimed that the Blue Green algae is actually not even algae. It is just a type of bacteria that thrives and grows once exposed to light.

In a fish tank, it can be found on rocks and plants and looks like a bluish web. In case you notice it in your tank, it means that it is really time to set those water parameters right.

There is no need to do anything particular about it because it is going to disappear once you improve the water quality.

Can You Put Algae Eaters with African Cichlids?

You can, but the Pleco is pretty much the only algae eater you can keep with them in the aquarium. African cichlids are usually aggressive and territorial. They can hardly tolerate any fish species that is not from Lake Tanganyika, Malawi or Victoria.

Plecos are one of those species and they are from the South American Amazon River. They have the ability to adapt to the water hardness and acidity of an African cichlid aquarium. This makes them the ideal tank mates and algae cleaners of your tank.

One of the few species that can adapt to the behaviors of African cichlids are definitely Plecos. The only downside about them is that as they grow bigger, they get lazier as well. Also, they generate a lot of waste which is true for African cichlids too.

Can African Cichlids Clear the Aquarium Glass from Algae?

African cichlids are rather algae nibblers than algae eaters. In case they discover any algae on the aquarium walls, they are going to stay there and nibble on it from time to time.

However, don’t expect them to clean it up completely. For that, you either need to get an algae eater or clean it up yourself.

A great way to remove algae from the aquarium glass by hand is to use an algae scrubber. We can recommend you one of the best scrubbers which comes with a 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Kit manufactured by Hygger.

This carbon fiber kit ensures that you don’t even need to dip your hand into the water. With this package, you get high-quality tools that will allow you to clean up your tank as quickly as possible.

This kit by Hygger comes with extra sponges, sponge cleaner, angled sponge, telescopic handle, fish net and more.

There is no need to be particularly careful with the handle, as all the attachments can be fixed firmly and securely on the other end.

Wrapping Up

We can conclude that herbivorous and omnivorous African cichlids absolutely love to eat algae. They just prefer to eat a particular type of them, which are soft algae. If you can find some Hair algae for them, then look no further.

Just make sure it is a well-grown one and they are going to eat it like crazy. Although there are algae that they love to eat, African cichlids are not algae eaters. For those fish keepers who are looking for a species for this purpose, we recommend buying Plecos.

In case getting rid of algae is your main goal, on the other hand, then buy a cleaning kit. You are not going to be disappointed with the one we recommended.

avatar I’m Julia, and I used to work in a fish store for over 5 years. On this blog I help beginners care for their cichlids and share my experience and research on various fishkeeping related topics.

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