“Too Much of a Good Thing Can be Wonderful”*


What’s the most unaesthetic beneficial thing in your tank?


It rhymes with… um…..

Hm…. Does anything actually rhyme with algae?

Anyway, algae is beneficial on all levels. So long as it’s not out of control, or covering your tank’s walls to the point you’re trying to locate your fish through an eerie green film.


Indeed, algae are, after all, living plants that release oxygen, thus doing their part for the overall fresh-water community. It’s a healthy and free food source. And algae can add their own lovely texture. I intentionally let it soften the edges of the plastic plants I mix through my live plants. The goldfish certainly appreciate grazing on it.

But, depending on the species of algae: green, red or brown, an overabundance can serve as a symptom of an imbalance in your tank’s eco-system, i.e., poor water conditions, too little carbon dioxide, too much or too little light. The link below will take you to a useful guide:


Liz Collins, a fish expert with a well-known national pet retailer, prefers keeping to a regular tank-cleaning schedule to removing algae with chemical algicides.

“There’s definitely chemicals to control algae, but that’s not the route we’re going for in this day and age. My best advice is to keep up with regular gravel vacuuming, monthly 25-percent water changes.”

Liz also suggests adding an algae-eating fish to your fish-tank’s community. “Bristle-nose plecos are a good choice..


Unlike other plecos Bristle-nose(s) only grow to five inches.” That said, Liz still recommends they’re housed in no less than a 30-gallon tank.

And aren’t they lovely? Actually, they are.
Bushy Nose Pleco


For those with gold-fish tanks, Liz says some people try their luck with snails. “They’re the only safe option, as algae-eating fish species can’t healthfully tolerate the goldfishes’ preferred cooler temperatures.”  But you can hear the frown in her voice as she adds, “But really, snails don’t add a lot of benefit.”

Is that an opening for a debate? Feel free to send your comments.


“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”*

― Mae West


2 thoughts on ““Too Much of a Good Thing Can be Wonderful”*

  1. Ash

    I had a bad experience with snails. Trying to do the “natural” thing in my aquarium and not use an algaecide, I introduced snails. Actually they came as passengers on some aquatic plants which I introduced.
    I thought I thought I’d scored a bonus but it was only a matter of months before my tank out of control with snails.
    I vacuumed them out meticulously with every water change, but they kept coming back. Even after emptying the entire tank, scrubbing it and washing the gravel thoroughly with a garden hose, they still beat me!
    So in an effort originally designed to avoid using algaecide, I tried some snail-a-cide … is that a word? Doesn’t matter, it didn’t work either!!
    My advice is… If you introduce snails, do some thorough research on what variety you are getting, because all snails aren’t the same!

    BTW Algae sort of rhymes with Angie … but I’m no poet!

    • As for hitchhiker snails, absolutely! I have found the larger, algae-eating specific snails (Apples for instance), somewhat up to the task. Unfortunately invertebrate requirements can be difficult to meet and maintain, especially if you find yourself needing to add almost any sort of fish remedy.

      Closest rhyme I could draw: Shall we. Let’s talk about algae, shall we? 😉

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