How to Breed Algae Eaters

By Naomi Bolton

Algae eaters are not frequently bred in aquariums. Under natural conditions, these fish are found in well-oxygenated water, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Algae eaters should be provided with a densely planted aquarium that contains some broad-leafed plants, on which they prefer to rest. This species is social and is best housed in groups. Female algae eaters are broader in the body than males, particularly when viewed from above. Although little is known about their reproduction in aquariums, it is reasonable to assume that changes to both water chemistry and flow will stimulate breeding.

Offer the algae eaters an aquarium of at least 25-gallon capacity.

Adjust the pH of the water to between neutral and very slightly acidic. A pH reading of 6.5 to 6.8 will be optimal. Add peat to the filter compartment to achieve this pH naturally.

Adjust the thermostat on the aquarium heater to between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. A water temperature of 77 F is ideal for the algae eater.

Place a powerful submersible pump in the aquarium. Position the pump on one side of the tank, to create a strong current.

Install a powerful air pump above the aquarium and connect a number of air stones to the pump. Algae eaters require well-oxygenated water, which they are accustomed to under natural conditions.

Condition the algae eaters by increasing their daily food ration and by offering additional food choices, such as a variety of boiled vegetables, in particular, spinach and broccoli. Continue to offer the original diet of flake, frozen and live food.

Extend the amount of time that the aquarium lights are left on, as longer daylight hours often induce breeding in other fish species.

Include a number of algae eaters in the aquarium, as these are social fish. Captive reproduction in the algae eater is still poorly understood, but an element of mate selection may exist. The larger the group from which adult fish can choose a breeding partner, the better the possibility that spawning will occur.