Do Guppies Eat Algae?

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Guppies eat varied diets, mixing live food and plants and vegetables, depending on their biological requirements. Guppies are tropical, omnivorous fish that thrive on mixed diets, providing them with all the nutrients necessary for growth, health, and breeding prowess.

But what plants do guppies like to eat? Also, do guppies eat algae, as many other fish do? And if they do, what type of algae do they prefer?

Today’s article seeks to provide meaningful answers to these questions to offer insight into guppies’ dietary preferences.

Are Aquarium Algae Good For Guppies?

Yes, they are, and guppies will munch on aquarium algae whenever they feel the need to. Don’t expect them to eat any algae and, most importantly, don’t expect them to eat too much. Guppies will only have a taste of their environmental algae once in a while if their bodies require it.

Guppies require a variety of other plants and animal-sourced foods to remain healthy and active over time. But they don’t make algae one of their primary food sources. Algae only represent a small portion of their daily diet.

What Type of Algae Can Guppies Eat?

Few aquarium beginners know that there are several types of tank algae to consider. Guppies will eat a variety of algae, including:

  • Black Beard Algae – This algae type is fairly common in most tanks, usually thriving in low CO2 environments. Guppies will eat on it occasionally; larger guppy populations effectively control this algae’s spread.
  • Staghorn – This algae type is an intrusive species, common in tanks with low or non-existent water circulation. Staghorn is difficult to remove since any remaining residue will cause the algae to grow back. Only a few fish species will feed on Staghorn, and guppies is one of them. However, don’t rely on guppies to keep these algae under control. Cleaning the tank regularly should remain the primary form of maintenance.
  • Brown Algae – Fortunately, this type of algae only grows in tanks with higher-than-usual levels of nitrates, phosphorus, and silicate. They also require low lighting to grow and will mostly appear in newer tanks when ongoing nitrogen process.

These are 3 algae species that your guppies might munch on occasionally, but there are others as well, like green water algae, fuzz algae, etc. On the other hand, there are some species that your guppies will avoid, like Blanket Weed.

This is another intrusive algae type that looks similar to green wool. It spreads fast, it latches onto any surface, it’s difficult to remove, and it emanates a foul odor in the water. Needless to say, no fish species will consume it, including guppies.

Can Guppies Eat Algae Wafers?

Algae wafers are generally designed for bottom-dwelling fish species due to the differences in diet preferences. That being said, all fish can consume algae wafers, including guppies. The problem is that it’s not among their favorite foods, nor can they get the best out of them.

I wouldn’t advise making algae wafers a fundamental addition to your guppies’ diets. If you do want to feed them some, break the wafers into smaller pieces so guppies can eat them.

You should also collect the unconsumed wafers after your fish has finished eating. Leaving the food residues in the water for more than 30 minutes can pollute the environment.

Are Guppies Good Algae Eaters?

No, not really. Guppies only eat algae occasionally and only in small portions. You can’t rely on them to keep the tank clean and control the algae population. That’s because guppies have an omnivorous diet and would only rely on algae to supplement their meals.

If you want to control the algae population, you should rely on other fish species, most of which make good tank companions for guppies. There are also specific measures to consider that will allow you to prevent the outgrow of algae in the long run. I will detail them below.

How to Get Rid of Algae in the Guppy Tank?

Many types of algae can invade your tank fast with little heads-up notice. Your job should be to prevent the problem rather than deal with it once it has arrived.

Some critical components of preventing algae development include:

– Relying on Algae-Eating Fish Species

As we’ve already established, guppies don’t really fall into this category. They can eat algae, but not enough to inhibit their growth. Other fish species are more well-equipped for the job, including:

  • Bristlenose Plecostomus – This little guy can grow up to 4 inches, will inhabit the tank’s substrate, and will feed on algae on the regular. They are also vividly colored, mainly albino and gold, and are friendly and peaceful no matter their tank mates.
  • Twig Catfish – This slender creature is shy and prefers highly-oxygenated tanks with stead water currents. Their environmental preferences match those of guppies, making them the ideal tank mates. Especially when considering that they won’t compete for food due to their personalities and behavioral differences. The Twig Catfish is a prolific algae eater becoming more and more popular in the aquarium business for that.
  • Siamese Algae Eater – The Siamese Algae Eater couldn’t have had a better name. This golden boy is exceptionally proficient at keeping the algae population under control. It’s adaptable, environmentally friendly, and peaceful, making it the ideal addition to your guppy tank.
  • Apple Snails – These slow-moving algae-eating machines can reach 6 inches in size, making for a sight to behold. Their golden shell and impressive antennae will make them stand out in any environment. They are a good addition to your guppy tank since they pose no threat to the fish and regularly consume algae. The problem is that they will also feed on live plants, so you might want to keep this in mind.

These are but 4 examples, but there are many others to consider as well. Adding algae-eating fish to your tank is a great way of controlling the algae spread with minimal effort.

– Prevent Overfeeding

Overfeeding is one of the top causes of water pollution, increasing the ammonia levels and potentially killing your fish in the long run. Decaying food residues also serve as food for various algae species, further fouling the water. Many novice guppy keepers struggle with this issue since they tend to overfeed the fish regularly.

To prevent this problem, only feed your guppies twice per day at most, and only what they can eat within 1 minute. This will minimize food leftovers, keeping the tank water cleaner for longer. Add some bottom-dwelling fish into the equation, and overfeeding will cease to be a problem anymore.

– Ensure Proper Tank Maintenance

Nothing beats regular tank maintenance at keeping the aquarium habitat clean and fresh. Most algae species thrive in murky waters and conditions unfit for most tank fish. Weekly water changes and regular tank cleanup can prevent algae formation and provide your guppies with a safe and fresh environment.

The problem is that many people skip this phase regularly and then wonder where the algae come from. Now you know.

– Ensure a Low-Light Environment

People live under the impression that guppies need artificial aquarium lights, which is not true. In reality, you need them, not the fish. Tank owners use artificial lighting to enhance the tank’s appeal and allow them a better view of the fish. Guppies, however, don’t require that much lighting while they do need a consistent day-night cycle.

Your room’s natural lighting will do in most cases since that’s what they also experience in their natural habitat. Artificial lighting will promote algae growth since most algae process their nutrients via photosynthesis.

I advise only using artificial aquarium lights if the aquarium room is darker than usual.

– Rely on Live Plants

Decorating your tank with a lot of plants is key to inhibiting algae growth. Plants and algae compete for the same food sources, which means that a plant-rich aquarium is unfit for algae.

Live plants will also provide guppies with hiding spots and make them feel at home. Choose the plant types carefully since some can drain the water of oxygen during nighttime, while others lower ammonia and nitrates.

You should also avoid adding any snails to the tank since these can eat them fast.

Can Guppies Eat Black Beard Algae?

Yes, they can, and they will. Black Beard algae are common in fish tanks and rely on photosynthesis to survive. Poorly lit aquariums are unfit environments for this algae species. This is an important point to remember if you’re trying to limit the algae’s spread.

However, guppies aren’t really that effective at holding back algae development. Guppies will only have a taste of algae, but these don’t make their primary food source. Or secondary, for that matter. If you want to control algae growth effectively, refer to my earlier recommendations.

Can Guppies Eat Blue-Green Algae?

Blue-Green Algae aren’t real alga but rather an accumulation of cyanobacterium. These microorganisms feed on nitrogen and can invade the tank rapidly. And, most importantly, guppies won’t eat it. In fact, few fish species will, since cyanobacterium comprises mostly dead organic matter.

Fish will usually see it as waste and avoid it. This means you can’t rely on your fish population to inhibit this algae’s growth.

Can Guppies Live off Algae?

For a period of time, guppies can live off algae only, but I would not recommend keeping them only on an algae diet. Guppies are omnivorous and need a variety of food in order to stay healthy and beautiful. Feed them quality flake food or make your own fish food, both work fine.

If you are leaving for a few days and you can’t feed your guppies, they will be absolutely fine with eating algae only. So, this is the reason why I don’t advise fish keepers to clean all algae from their tanks. Leaving some soft algae for your fish is a must.


There are several types of aquarium algae, and your guppies will prefer some over the others. However, guppies aren’t specialized algae eaters, so you can’t count on them to keep the tank clean.

Specialized algae-eating fish species can’t do that either, no matter how prolific they are. If you’re aiming to keep the tank clean, you need to adopt a set of preventive measures, most of which I’ve already detailed earlier.

Updated: December 9, 2021
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