Aquarium owners often have to deal with pesky white fungus growing on their aquarium plants and driftwood.
Although it is not harmful to your fish, it can be a bit unsightly to have a white web-like material slowly covering the driftwood surface.
Thankfully, you can get rid of this fungus from your aquarium in many ways. One such way involves letting your fish eat the fungus!
Yes, there are quite a few fish species that can devour your aquarium fungus and keep it clean.
So, let’s look at the fish species that eat fungus.
Fish Species That Eat Fungus
If left unbothered, the fungus can keep growing in your aquarium. It will eventually cover the entire wood and plant life of your aquarium and slowly kill it. Plus, it can affect your tank’s water chemistry, which will cause harm to your tank’s fish life.
However, there are quite a few fungus-eating fish – as well as snails and shrimps – that will consume the unsightly fungus growing in your aquarium.
These fish species are readily available and are entirely affordable as well. They will diversify the marine life of your aquarium and keep it clean.
The following are 5 of the best, most readily available fungus eaters that you can introduce to your aquarium right away.
Bristlenose Plecos, with their huge appetite, are a fantastic addition to large aquariums. They grow up to a length of 15 centimeters and have the potential to cover a lot of ground and eat large amounts of fungus.
In fact, aquarium owners often have to add sinking algae tablets to ensure that their Plecos are being fed properly.
Bristlenose Pleco species are pretty calm dwellers and will get along nicely with any other type of fish. They normally come out to eat at night, hiding out in the plant life during the day.
Their passive nature and adequate size are generally enough to keep them out of trouble. So, if you have a large aquarium that houses aggressive fish species, then the Bristlenose Pleco is one of your best fungus-eating fish options.
Siamese Algae Eater
As the name suggests, Siamese Algae Eaters are known to effectively devour algae that grow in aquariums. These striking and exceptionally hardy fish are unyielding in their clean-up capabilities.
They will completely clean your tank of the fungus growing on its plants and wood pieces. Siamese Algae Eaters are thorough omnivores – they eat all kinds of algae that can grow in your home aquarium, as well as leftover vegetables, live foods, fish food pellets, and flake foods.
These relentless fungus-eating fish can grow up to 2 inches. They are ideal for all aquarium sizes; however, since they are territorial, they prefer larger, spacious areas with plenty of living plants to make their territories out of.
You can also add them to small aquariums – 10 to 20-gallon tanks – as they are not that big.
They are likely to live peacefully with other fish and marine species. However, they have a tendency to become aggressively territorial, when a whole bunch of them are grouped together.
So, the best step you can take is to keep a maximum of 4 to 5 Siamese Algae Eaters for every 100 liters of aquarium water.
As for living conditions and environment, Siamese Algae Eaters are pretty easy to look after. They need generous amounts of oxygen in order to flourish in an aquarium and their ideal water temperature is somewhere around the 77 degrees mark (Fahrenheit).
The Siamese Algae Eater is an exceptionally great hopper, so make sure that you keep the aquarium lid on permanently.
Also, this fish species needs a diverse diet to flourish, but since they are insatiable omnivores, they will devour any and all leftovers.
So, just make sure that they get their proper share of food and not just leftovers.
The Otocinclus Catfish, commonly known as Otos or dwarf suckers, will be a great addition to your freshwater aquarium.
This is due to their tiny size – they will rarely grow bigger than 2 inches – which helps them easily squeeze into tight spaces and utilize their fungus devouring skills.
Don’t make the mistake of underestimating Otos due to their tiny stature, they can devour more fungus in a short amount of time than you think.
These fish highly favor soft green and brown algae, but they will flourish on all kinds of algae, fungus, and vegetation.
However, Otos are insatiable, so make sure that your fish tank has enough algae and fungus to fulfill their appetite. If it does not, we recommend that you occasionally add some water-friendly vegetables to your aquarium.
Otos prefer to swim around in fish schools, so it is best if you keep them in a cluster of no less than 5 individual fish.
However, since they are so tiny, you will not need a large tank to keep them happy – a 30-gallon tank will provide ample space for a school of Otos to roam freely.
As for tankmates, Otos can usually live peacefully with most fish species, however, since they are so tiny, they can fall prey to fish such as Angelfish and Cichlids.
So, make sure that you don’t place Otos in an aquarium that has these fish species.
Another type of Catfish that is great at cleaning up aquarium fungus is the Twig Catfish or the Whiptail Catfish.
They are primarily algae-eating fish with huge appetites. They can grow up to 8 inches, and their slim, brown bodies often allow them to camouflage themselves in aquariums teeming with fish.
Appropriate tank mates for these fish are fish species that are widely recognized as passive – including Rasboras, Tetras, Pencil Fish, and Hatchets.
However, fish such as Barbs and Cichlids are known to devour Catfish, so make sure that you don’t add your Twig Catfish to such an aquarium that has these fish – they are incredibly vulnerable to such attacks.
Twig Catfish are usually capable of thriving in small tanks – a 20 to 30-gallon tank will provide more than enough space for them to thrive.
Twig Catfish also prefer a habitat with plenty of hiding spots, so an aquarium with lots of vegetation and bogwood is the ideal living environment for them.
They also prefer stable living conditions, so serious alterations to the aquarium water can really distress them.
When it comes to their diet, Twig Catfish generally munch on all sorts of algae and fungus, but if you want your Twig Catfish to truly flourish and live for a long time, then we strongly recommend giving them algae tablets twice or thrice per week.
Although Mollies are usually not thought of as fungus devouring fish, their capability and readiness to eat just about any kind of aquarium fungus and algae qualify them to land a spot on this list of fungus-eating fish.
While Mollies won’t be as effective or quick at eating your aquarium’s fungus as some of the other fungus-eating fish species, it’s worth mentioning that Mollies, particularly Black Mollies, will definitely devour a significant chunk of the fungus and algae growing in your aquarium.
Although they prefer to devour the algae growing on live plants and rocks, they will definitely munch on the fungus growing on your driftwood.
However, don’t rely solely on Mollies to eat all that fungus; you will need to add some other fungus-eating fish along with Mollies to your aquarium.
However, if you want to add more beauty to your aquarium with the supplementary advantage of having some unsightly fungus taken care of, then Mollies definitely top the list.
Related read: Why Does Molly Fish Eat at the Edge of the Aquarium?
Now, let’s look at some other ways to get rid of aquarium fungus.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Aquarium Fungus
Apart from adding fungus-eating fish to your aquarium, here are some other ways to get rid of that pesky fungus from your aquarium.
Add Snails to Your Aquarium
Some species of freshwater snails – Nerite Snails, Ramshorn Snails, Mystery Apple Snails, etc. – love to chew on plant fungus that grows in aquariums.
These snails will eat any fungus and algae growing in your tank as well as leftover food and dead plant material.
However, be wary as snails will lay eggs in your tank and that will turn your aquarium water a little opaque.
Add Shrimp to Your Aquarium
Some shrimps – including Amano Shrimp, Cherry shrimp, and Ghost Shrimp – are known to be voracious fungus eaters.
They will devour the fungus growing in your aquarium along with dead plant matter and leftover food.
Plus, all of these shrimp are pretty small in stature so you can easily keep them in smaller aquariums.
Add Salt to Your aquarium Water
Another step that you can take to eradicate the fungus growing on your aquarium plants is to soak the driftwood in around 5 gallons of water a couple of days prior to adding it to your freshwater aquarium.
This will allow you to effectively deal with any fungus that might form on your wood. Also, whenever you change your aquarium water, make sure to add a teaspoon of aquarium salt to every 5 gallons of replacement water.
The dissolved salt will attack your aquarium fungus and leave your aquarium fungus-free.
To conclude, you don’t have to worry about the fungus in your aquarium.
You can make use of the above-mentioned ways to get rid of the fungus growing in your aquarium.
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