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13 Tips For Keeping An Algae Eater With A Betta Fish!

Keeping betta fish as pets has seen a huge spike in its popularity over the last decade as people share pictures and videos of their brightly colored fish on social media attracting more and more people to keeping them.

Due to this rapid spike in popularity as well as the reputation of betta fish, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people reaching out with various questions about keeping them as pets.

Due to some betta fish really not mixing well with other tank mates we have seen a huge spike in the number of people reaching out to ask for advice on an algae eater they can keep with their betta fish.

Although the best algae eater companion for a betta fish will depend on the size of your tank and the personality of your betta fish, there are a number of solid options that you are able to use.

In this article, we will be going over what we feel are the eight best algae eater companions that can live with bettas as well as a number of other tips and tricks to try and help your algae eater get along with your betta fish.

Getting your betta fish used to having an algae eater in its tank really can work wonders for the water purity and help to drastically reduce the amount of algae that builds up.

Can An Algae Eater Live With A Betta?

There are a number of popular algae eaters that can live with a betta fish without having any issues but the personality of your betta fish as well as the size of your tank will come into play.

There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to adding an algae eater to your betta tank unless you have a tank that is at least 20 gallons or larger as smaller tanks have far less compatible algae eaters that go with betta fish.

From what we have seen, most people new to keeping betta fish tend to start out with a 5 gallon tank and this really is the smallest tank we would recommend that you try to add an algae eater to.

Although some people do keep betta fish in 3 gallon tanks, the smaller size can increase the chances of your betta fish being aggressive to your algae eater and even 5 gallon tanks are limited to something like an Amano Shrimp as your algae eater.

As beginners build up experience with caring for their betta fish, many seem to upgrade to a 15 gallon aquarium and this really opens up your options for your algae eater.

With tanks of 15 gallons or more you can start to use a Otocinclus Catfish or Corydoras Catfish as your algae eater with your betta fish.

Are Algae Eaters Compatible With Bettas?

Not all algae eaters are compatible with betta fish and out of the eight algae eaters that are commonly used with betta fish, you do tend to need a larger tank of at least fifteen to twenty gallons.

Even then, the personality of some betta fish, particularly males can be too aggressive to have an algae eater in the tank with them.

Although we covered the common 5 and 15 gallon tank sizes above, the best bet to get your betta fish to comfortably live with an algae eater in its tank is to try and get yourself a 20 gallon aquarium or larger.

These larger aquarium tanks give your betta fish plenty of space to help prevent it showing aggression to your algae eater letting you keep any of the common algae eaters in the tank with it including Bristlenose Plecos.

If you find that your larger tank does tend to build up a large amount of algae quickly then you can usually get away with having multiple algae eating snails in it to keep algae to an absolute minimum without your betta causing problems.

Even in these larger tanks though, we still only recommend that you have a single algae eating fish or a small number of algae eating shrimp.

The Best Algae Eaters To Have With A Betta Fish!

The best betta tank mates for eating algea are cherry shrimp, otocinclus catfish, ramshorn snails, bristlenose plecos, amano shrimp, nerite snails, corydoras catfish, and siamese algae eaters.

Although there are some other algae eaters that can work with a betta fish, they tend to be more difficult to introduce to your betta and may lead to problems further down the line.

We will be going over the eight best algae eater fish that can live with bettas now offering you the various ins and outs for each option as well as when each of them should be used.

You have to keep in mind that some betta fish, particularly males have a personality where they will display aggression to anything else in their tank though and this tends to be compounded in tanks of 15 gallons or less.

This is why some people can have the exact same type of algae eater in two different tanks with two different betta fish with one being totally fine and one betta fish getting aggressive.

Thankfully, this is rare and most of the time, you betta fish should be fine with the algae eaters that we cover below.

Cherry Shrimp With Your Betta

Cherry shrimp can be a great algae eater for a betta tank with cherry shrimp working well in betta tanks of five gallons and up.

You can usually keep multiple cherry shrimp in the tank with your betta fish to help keep the algae under control with one cherry shrimp per gallon being recommended.

Thankfully, you are able to get cherry shrimp for cheap with ease making them one of the more commonly used algae eater options in North America and Europe.

People tend to like cherry shrimp for tanks that have betta fish with orange colors on them due to the orange color of the cherry shrimp matching the orange color of the betta fish too.

Keep in mind that mixing male and female cherry shrimp in the same tank can quickly lead to a large population but you are usually able to purchase all male or all female batches of cherry shrimp with the females being the larger of the two.

As you are able to use cherry shrimp as your algae eater for betta tanks of five gallons and up, some people do add additional algae eaters to their larger tank in addition to cherry shrimp without issue too.

Otocinclus Catfish With Your Betta

Otocinclus Catfish algae eater and betta fish

Otocinclus catfish and an excellent option for keeping an alga eater and betta together in the same tank.

Aggression between the two tends to be rare but otocinclus catfish do tend to only be suitable for tanks of 10 gallons or more with a 15 gallon tank being ideal for a otocinclus catfish and a betta fish.

Otocinclus catfish are easy to source and you can usually purchase them for around five dollars depending on the time of year.

Although you can add a single otocinclus catfish to your betta tank to help control the algae build-up, they are classed as a shoal fish with groups of five or more usually being recommended to reduce any anxiety in the otocinclus catfish.

This is why most people will only add otocinclus catfish to larger betta fish tanks of 15 gallons or more to try and keep the fish as comfortable as possible.

The more stress and anxiety that your otocinclus catfish experiences then the less algae it will eat essentially defeating the purpose of having it.

Ramshorn Snail With Your Betta

Ramshorn Snail algae eater with betta fish
“Flat Ramshorn Snail (Macrochlamys sp.)” by berniedup is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Ramshorn Snails can be a good algae eater to go with betta fish, especially in smaller tanks as they can work in tanks of five gallons and up.

Some betta fish will eat ramshorn snails before they are fully grown though so it is usually better to purchase adult ramshorn snails rather than juvenile snails.

You are able to purchase ramshorn snails only extremely cheaply and you can add multiple adult ramshorn snails to larger tanks to easily keep the algae in the tank under control.

Some betta fish owners will actually have their own, separate tank for breeding ramshorn snails and have them as their algae eater of choice in all of their aquariums due to them being so low maintenance.

On the flipside of that though, some people don’t like ramshorn snails due to their boring look and lack of color.

This is understandable as more and more people are setting their betta fish aquariums up as show tanks with lots of bright colors making something like a cherry shrimp a better option if this is the case for you.

Bristlenose Plecos With Your Betta

bristlenose pleco algae eater with a betta fish
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Bristlenose plecos and be one of the best alga eater options for a betta fish in larger tanks of 25 gallons and over but they are not well suited to tanks smaller than that.

A single bristlenose pleco can consume a huge amount of alga each day keeping your aquarium spotless while also being a very low maintenance algae eater too.

You are usually able to purchase bristlenose plecos online for less than $10 but depending on the time of year and the demand for them, prices can be slightly higher.

Due to a single bristlenose pleco being able to consume so much algae as well as doing very well in both alkaline and acidic water, they are a very popular option for fish keepers outside of betta keepers too.

If you do have a smaller aquarium of less than 25 gallons then a bristlenose pleco really isn’t the algae eater for you though and another option from our list should be chosen.

Aggression between even male betta fish and bristlenose plecos are rare too due to the larger tanks bing required and your betta fish usually having all the space it could ever want.

Amano Shrimp With Your Betta

Amano Shrimp algae eater with betta fish

Amano shrimp are a very cheap and low maintenance algae eater option for in a betta tank making them very popular.

They work well in in aquariums of five gallons and up with the usually recommendation being to have one amano shrimp per two gallons of water in the tank to keep algae at low levels.

Due to the low price of amano shrimp and how easy they are to get, they are a very popular option for betta fish owners who just want a quick, easy, cheap, and low maintenance algae eater that works in pretty much any betta tank size.

Although some betta fish can be aggressive towards amano shrimp, this does tend to be rare making them a solid algae eater option.

Amano shrimp do look a little bland with their looks often putting some betta fish owners off them in favour of their brighter, cherry shrimp cousins. If you don’t care about the plane look of amano shrimp then they are definitely one of the better algae eater options for a small betta tank.

Nerite Snail With Your Betta

Nerite Snail algae eater with a betta fish
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Nerite Snails can be an excellent algae eater with male betta fish who are aggressive due to their large shell protecting them with nerite snails working extreme well as algae eaters for non-aggressive betta fish too.

Although the usual recommendation is to use a single nerite snail in a ten gallon tank, larger tanks can usually have one nerite snail per five gallons in the tank.

Depending on the time of year and your location, nerite snails can be a pain to find in your local pet store so purchasing them online is usually the best route to take.

Nerite snails are also very low maintenance and can work very well for someone who does not want to have to baby site their algae eater in their betta fish tank.

Although their thick, hard shell will often protect them from any aggression from a betta fish, juveniles can still be vulnerable to betta fish who eat snails.

Our recommendation would be to specifically purchase fully grown nerite snails to remove this risk though.

Although nerite snails are small, it is surprising how much algae they actually consume each day with them being second only to the bristlenose pleco covered earlier in terms of how much algae they consume relative to their size.

Corydoras Catfish With Your Betta

Corydoras Catfish algae eater with a betta fish

Corydoras catfish are a very peaceful algae eater with betta fish that do very well in large aquarium tanks of over 20 gallons.

Although a single corydoras catfish can consume a large amount of algae, many people will keep three to five of them in larger tanks and they will often start to shoal together and keep your tank clear of algae.

Due to the unique coloration on some corydoras catfish, their price really can grow exponentially with a standard pattern starting at around $10 and then easily increasing to around $50 or even more for a rarer colored fish.

Checking what’s available online for your budget or preferences is usually the best option with the corydoras catfish being a solid option for people who want a bright colored algae eater in with their betta fish but you will have to pay extra for the rarer color patterns.

Corydoras catfish really don’t do well in a smaller tank though and should never be used in an aquarium of less than 20 gallons. If you are wanting to add multiple corydoras catfish as your algae eaters then an aquarium of at least 25 gallons is recommended.

With a larger 25 gallon tank or more you can often add additional algae eaters from this list into the tank too if needed.

Siamese Algae Eater With Your Betta

Siamese Algae Eater with a betta fish
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Siamese algae eaters can be a great option for an algae eater fish with your betta fish due them being so passive and consuming so much algae.

Be sure not to confuse the siamese algae eater with the Chinese algae eater though as th Chinese algae eater is a semi-aggressive fish and tends not to mix well with betta fish.

Although Siamese algae eaters could be difficult to find in North America and Europe, their popularity due to being such a low maintenance algae eater has increased their demand to a level where people are actively breeding them.

This has not only resulted in the fish being much easier to find but also their price coming down with prices online being as low as $5 per fish.

The only drawback of the Siamese algae eater is that they need to be kept in tanks of at least 30 gallons restricting them for medium to large tanks only.

The fish tend to perform very well when kept alone or in groups of up to five with them being able to consume a large amount of algae.

That said, people will often also keep shrimp or snails in the tank in addition to their Siamese algae eaters and betta fish to help keep algae growth to an absolute minimum.

How To Prevent Algae In Betta Tank With Out An Algae Eater

Some people do prefer to use chemicals to minimise the algae growth in their betta fish tanks but we usually recommend that you opt for an algae eating fish instead.

Although these chemical products can work and do a good job of helping to keep the algae under control, they can cause some issues in your betta fish with the most obvious one being color fade.

That said, some people will want to go with a chemical-based solution rather than an algae eating fish, snail or shrimp and we feel that API Algafix is the best option by far.

Although there are plenty of betta fish owners who do report positive experiences with API Algafix, some have had a number of issues with their betta fish when using it with the other chemical algae deterrents usually causing even more issues with betta fish.

If possible, we really would recommend that you try to add a couple of Cherry Shrimp or a single Nirite Snail to the tank instead. Not only do they offer better performance but they also workout to be considerably cheaper too with no side effects on your betta fish.


That brings our article going over the best algae eaters for betta fish to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you better understand what options you have available depending on the size of your aquarium. There are plenty of different options for aquariums of all sizes covered in the article so we are confident that you should be able to find something to fit your needs.