Do Guppies Clean The Tank? (How + Who Else Does It)

Image of guppies cleaning the tank

Cleaning a fish tank isn’t an easy task. It needs a lot of time and effort. However, some fish can help you keep the tank clean. So, do guppies clean the tank?

Yes, guppies do clean the tank in a small way. They eat the tank’s algae in small quantities. However, they aren’t voracious algae eaters and can’t scrape off all algae. So you need to keep algae-eating fish like bristlenose plecos, siamese algae eaters, etc., along with guppies to clean the tank.

Now, even if guppies eat algae only to an extent, they do eat some algae voraciously.

What Algae Do Guppies Eat Voraciously?

Guppies eat a small number of algae that grow naturally in the aquarium. However, algae don’t constitute their entire diet.

Most of the time, guppies will scrape off the algae present on the tank’s glass and decor. They will even consume algae in small amounts that are found on top of the water.

Although guppies eat algae, you can’t use them to control the algae bloom in your aquarium. This is because guppies are not voracious algae eaters. So, they don’t clean the tank extensively.

However, guppies voraciously eat certain algae such as staghorn or black beard algae that have been treated with hydrogen peroxide.

In the wild, guppies forage through algae, searching for the fish fry, small insects, and other tiny invertebrates. On the contrary, guppies may nibble on the algae in a home aquarium to make their habitat suitable for living.

Algae absorb oxygen and other nutrients from the water. So if there are excessive algae in the aquarium, it results in oxygen depletion.

Therefore, guppies have evolved to consume the algae to keep the water clean.

Recommended Further Reading:

Which Algae-Eater Can You Keep With Guppies?

Algae grow naturally in most planted tanks. Therefore, algae growth isn’t much of a concern if it’s under control.

However, if there is an algae explosion in the tank, you need to find ways to clean the algae before it becomes a problem to the tank’s inhabitants.

If you have algae bloom in a guppy tank, you can’t depend on guppies to clean the tank.

Guppies aren’t voracious algae eaters, and so you need to either clean the tank yourself or introduce the algae-eaters in the tank.

The latter is a good option as algae-eaters are an excellent addition to the tank because of their quirky looks and expertise in algae removal.

While housing algae-eaters, you need to consider the ones that are compatible with guppies.

To make things simpler for you, we have shortlisted some of the widely used algae-eaters that are compatible with guppies.

1. Bristlenose Plecos

Bristlenose Plecos are an excellent addition for controlling algae growth in an aquarium.

As bottom-dwellers, they do a great job of cleaning the tank by consuming the overgrown algae and uneaten food.

Bristlenose Plecos constantly scavenge for food and snack on the tasty algae. Having said that, Bristlenose Plecos can’t survive on algae alone. They need algae wafers as well to stay healthy.

Bristlenose Plecos are compatible tank mates for guppies as they share a similar temperament.

Besides, they usually hang out at the bottom of the tank, whereas guppies generally swim in the middle of the tank. Thus, both of these species don’t cross paths often.

2. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish are another excellent choice to control the algae explosion in a fish tank.

These fish have an insatiable appetite for algae. Therefore, they are perfect for eating the new algae before they can cause any harm to the guppies.

Otocinclus Catfish are docile, and so are an excellent choice for housing with guppies. They also do well in planted tanks and don’t harm the plants while clearing the algae.

The only thing to remember is that Otocinclus Catfish are more sensitive to improper water conditions than guppies.

Hence, you must ensure that the water parameters always fall in the optimal range for both species to thrive together.

3. Siamese Algae Eater

As the name suggests, Siamese Algae Eaters are famous for their algae-eating habits. They are pretty active and get along with other peaceful inhabitants.

Besides, they are rarely aggressive and don’t unsettle the calmer guppies.

Siamese Algae Eaters are best suited in a guppy tank with algae bloom because they consume a wide range of algae. In addition, these fish are particularly ravenous.

Another advantage of housing Siamese Algae Eaters is that they not only eat the least appetizing algae but also eat the leftover detritus in the aquarium. Thus in a way, they help to clean the tank as well.

Moreover, Siamese Algae Eaters do well in planted tanks as they don’t damage the plants while grazing on the algae.

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4. Snails

Snails are an excellent choice for keeping the algae growth under control in an aquarium. Snails such as nerite, mystery, apple, Malaysian trumpet, and ramshorn are prolific algae-eaters.

These snails have low maintenance costs and can effectively clean the aquarium.

Snails are also compatible with guppies due to their peaceful temperament.

Moreover, guppies usually don’t attempt to eat the snails as they have hard protective shells that guppies can’t penetrate easily.

5. Shrimp

Shrimp are one of the most common types of crustaceans found in freshwater habitats. These little creatures are a great addition to control the algae bloom in an aquarium.

Shrimp such as cherry and Amano are good at eating various types of algae. For example, cherry shrimp are great at consuming hair algae, while Amano shrimp are good at eating various types of soft algae.

Moreover, shrimp are highly beneficial for cleaning up the aquarium because they remove unwanted materials, including hair, food scraps, and dead organisms.

In addition, shrimp help decompose the waste products by breaking down large particles into smaller ones.

Shrimp are also compatible tank mates for guppies as these two share similar feeding behavior.

The only challenge is that guppies can eat the smaller shrimp. So, while housing shrimp with guppies, you need to provide ample hiding spots.

Besides, guppies need to be well-fed so that they don’t look upon the shrimp as a food source.

Do Guppies Need Clean Water?

Guppies thrive in clean water. Since the aquarium is their home, its cleanliness has a significant impact on the health of guppies.

If the tank water is polluted, it will stress the guppies. Stress can weaken their immune system, and they will become prone to diseases. Besides, poor water quality can make the guppies sick.

Moreover, the dissolved wastes in the water aren’t readily visible to the naked eye.

If the water is not changed frequently or its quality is not maintained, the accumulated waste can harm the guppies. It can even result in their untimely death due to suffocation.

Therefore, the most important thing about keeping guppies in an aquarium is ensuring that you have good quality water.

Interesting Further Reading:

Do Guppies Create A Lot Of Waste?

Guppies don’t create a lot of waste like goldfish. They only poop out small amounts of solid matter every day.

However, guppies can contaminate the tank water significantly when they are overfed or when there are too many guppies in a small tank.

If there is too much fecal material in the tank, it can cause ammonia build-up, making the water cloudy.

Also, when guppies defecate, they release bacteria into the water, which causes foul odors.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you perform partial water change at least once a week.

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