Do Otocinclus Eat Hair Algae? Answer for New Aquarists

Otocinclus are well known for their lovely appearance, calm temperament, and ability to clean the tank.

Given their versatility, it is no surprise why otocinclus remain a favorable choice for both amateurs and experienced aquarists alike.

That said, some people find themselves wondering “Do otocinclus eat hair algae?” If the same question is bothering you, make sure to scroll down and find out the answer!

Do Otocinclus Eat Hair Algae?

No. Unfortunately, otocinclus are not a big fan of hair algae or any other types of algae that are too hard to chew.

If you expect these fish to control the algae growth inside your aquarium, then you will be let down.

Still, if we are talking about green and diatom algae, then the situation has changed.

Otocinclus enjoy munching on these particularly soft plant matters, especially since they are highly elastic and easy to be scrubbed off.

While otocinclus can help you get rid of algae accumulation to an extent, be realistic and know that the fish themselves cannot eliminate all of the tank’s algae on their own. If you want the tank to be algae-free, consider adding some algae-eaters.

otocinclus catfish

Does Otocinclus Clean Glass?

Yes. Otocinclus are thrilled to help clean the glass walls and surfaces inside your tank for you.

Even better, these aquatic animals will munch on your plants and decor whenever they detect unusual spots and build-up of dirt, debris, and food leftovers.

What Fish Eats Hair Algae The Best?

Now that we have established how otocinclus are not the best choice when it comes to hair algae control, below are some of the suggestions on which fish you need to buy to get rid of hair algae.


While fully grown angelfish prefer protein-rich sources of food, dwarf angelfish are more inclined to feed on plant matter. Conveniently, they do not have any problem eating hair algae.

If you want something that is both visually pleasing and useful when it comes to hair algae control, then rest assured that flame angelfish, lemon peel angelfish, and hector’s goby will live up to your expectations.


Despite being omnivores, rabbitfish lean a bit heavier on the side of vegetation. Instead of throwing blanched veggies inside the aquarium for your fish, consider pushing them to eat hair algae.

Whenever the sun rises, rabbitfish will get out of their hiding place and seek hair algae. After a while, you will see how spotless your tank is. The best types of rabbitfish that can eat hair algae include foxface and two barred, which are medium in size.

foxface rabbitfish


If you have a relatively small tank, then the presence of several blennies will be your best bet. Since they are herbivorous, blennies depend on hair algae as their main source of protein and nutrients.

With their comb-like teeth and the tendency to roam around the aquarium, blennies will make for great hair algae-eaters. You can start with highfin blennies, lawnmower blennies, and tail spot blennies.

All of them are thrilled to feed on hair algae, which means you do not even have to feed them commercial food.

Blennies fish

Spotted scat

Unlike other aquatic animals, spotted scat does not enjoy eating algae alone. They will proceed to consume anything considered waste inside your aquarium, including fish poop, insects, worms, and other tiny crustaceans.

As they are highly indiscriminate regarding their food sources, spotted scat is among the top choices for those who seek to keep their tanks clean using the tank’s fish themselves.

That said, these animals can only survive in slightly brackish water, with saltwater being predominant.

Spotted scat fish

How Do You Get Rid Of Hair Algae?

Getting rid of hair algae is easy enough once you have determined the source of the problem.

For example, if hair algae seem to grow due to a spike in nitrates, silicates, and phosphates, then you have to change your water. Make sure the water is clean and no toxin build-up is present.

Sometimes, hair algae develop due to a lack of care. In this case, you might have to consider removing them using your own hands.

Granted, this may get a bit dirty and difficult, especially if algae is firmly attached to surfaces and crevices. Still, it is regarded as the quickest way to eliminate hair algae.

Another approach to reducing the presence of hair algae inside your aquariums is to put in more aquatic plants.

As plants and algae compete for the same source of nutrients and lighting, having a fiercer competition means hair algae will stand a lower chance of growing.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you might enjoy putting hair algae-eaters inside the tank.

Once familiarize themselves with the tank’s conditions, these voracious eaters will surely have a good time munching on algae.

Not only do you get to watch these animals in action, but you can also be assured of how hair algae are taken care of!

Finally, in case hair algae seems to be a pestering problem that threatens your aquatic plants and animals, chemical treatments might be necessary.

Some chemical compounds can easily exterminate algae within a few hours, leaving you with a spotless tank.

That said, given how harmful this practice might be for your fish and other living beings inside the aquarium, you should only turn to this as a last resort.


Do otocinclus eat hair algae? Sadly, no. But still, they can feed on other types of algae that prove to be equally disturbing. So do not get let down if you wish your otocinclus to be helpful!