home. These bodies of water can hold all forms of aquatic life. One big aspect to look out for is algae. Algae are microscopic organisms that are able to photosynthesize (use the energy from the sun to make food) just like plants. They serve critical roles in the environment or even in minuscule habitats such as a pond.
Just like plants, these algae provide oxygen to the ecosystem and they also feed other organisms situated above in the food web. However, just like all things in the environment, balance must be maintained. Algae do serve critical services for the environment but algal population can also lead to disastrous consequences. Thus, it is important to determine which types of fishes or freshwater algea eaters you can rely on to eat algae for population control.
Types of Fish That are Algae Eaters
Koi (Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio)
Koi are among the most popular types of fish used in ponds for their overwhelming aesthetic values. These fish come in a wide selection of varieties – it is said that there are over a hundred different kinds. Aside from their breathtaking beauty, they are also capable of eating algae.
Koi are probably a good idea for algae control because they are fish that can get really large especially when ponds are big enough. Larger ponds mean more surface area for the sun to promote algal growth which means that koi will be a perfect fit for larger ponds.
Unfortunately, it is known that algae might not be the favorite food of this fish. This means that it will selectively eat other food when available. However, koi have been observed to eat algae when other food sources are scarce. If you aim to train your koi to eat algae specifically, you can get them better suited to eating algae by hand feeding the fish with algae you can collect from the pond. This gets them to learn the association that algae is indeed their food.
Siamese Algae Eater (Scientific Name: Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)
Native to Asia, the Siamese Algae Eater is a large freshwater fish that can grow up to 11 inches long. They are slender in body shape and are characterized by a prominent black band that runs along their side. They are also equipped with a sucker-like mouth that effectively eats algae that are attached to certain substrates such as rocks and plants.
One thing to note about the Siamese Algae Eater is that they can be quite territorial. This is important to note when you plan on introducing different types of fishes in a single pond. As much as possible, you’d want to stick with social fishes that can get along with other species because some territorial species might engage in aggressive behavior.
Mosquito Fish (Scientific Name: Gambusia affinis)
Mosquito fish are tiny freshwater species that are very popular in backyard ponds because of the fact that they feed on mosquito larvae. Fish like mosquito fish. That feed on mosquito larvae serve as wonderful control agents for mosquito. Populations which are inherently frowned upon in urban settings due to the fact that they are able to transmit diseases.
When they are unable to feed on mosquito larvae. These mosquito fish have been found to be able to feed on algae as well. They are small and fast which makes them effective control agents for algae in your pond.
If you are considering introducing mosquito fish in your pond, make sure to provide them with enough spaces where they can hide from larger fish that are present in the pond. Due to their small sizes. Mosquito fish will be satisfied with extra structures. That can help keep them comfortably safe such as rocks and vegetation.
Channel Catfish (Scientific Name: Ictalurus punctatus)
Channel catfish, like other catfish species, are known for their cat-like appearance given to them by their long whiskers. Just like how cats use their whiskers to sense their environments, catfish also use these appendages to help give them information about their surroundings.
Not the most social groups of fish, Channel catfish are omnivores and scavengers which make them excellent at eating algae as they like to stick to walls and the floor instead of swimming around the top of the water.
If ever you would like to add a Channel catfish to your pond to control algal populations, it could be recommended that you get a small one. As omnivores, these fish will eat anything that they can get their mouths wrapped around. Aside from algae, they can also eat crustaceans and even small fishes. If you are planning to have your fishes in the pond mate and repopulate over time, then perhaps you should reconsider catfishes because they are also known to eat eggs of other animals like fishes.
Algae may not be the favorite food of many fishes but many fishes have been known to eat algae. A pond can suffice with one or two species of fishes that eat algae because the point of control agents like them is to control the algal population and not totally eradicate it. Overpopulated algae is dangerous for the pond and unpleasant to look at but they are still key pillars in the pond ecosystem.