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The underwater cleaners
Ornamental fish are not only beautiful to look at – some even help to keep the aquarium clean.

Ornamental fish keep the aquarium clean

Clear glass panes and a clean ground make an aquarium real a pleasure to look at for fish lovers. Ornamental fish can help to keep the aquarium clean: some of the fish, the algae-eating species, eat unsightly algae in the tank.

For example various suckermouth armoured catfish are excellent cleaners: the whiptail catfish is almost continuously eating algae, it even scrapes them from the aquarium pane. The 'dwarf oto' also provides clean surroundings. It tirelessly scrapes the algae from leaves, stems and root. 

The Siamese algae eater is a real omnivore. With its slim body, it can get into the tightest corner to eat the algae. The small fish loves to eat red and green algae. It also welcomes the dreaded beard algae on the menu.

Parodontidae are particularly busy algae eaters. They even eat algae filaments drifting in the current. To do this, they approach the plant head on and pull the filaments off one by one. Armoured catfish clean the aquarium ground tirelessly: these shoaling fish are always looking for food in the soft ground, e.g. easily dissolving organic material, and so they clean the ground in a natural way. 

Although algae eating fish and armoured catfish clean the aquarium tank, this does not replace a thorough cleaning of the ground. To do this, 20 % of the water needs to be exchanged once a week. Every few weeks, the ground has to be cleaned thoroughly. Special gravel cleaners developed for aquariums available in specialist shops are ideal for this.

Source: IVH (German Industrial Association for Pet Supplies)