The Algae Busters Part One

Dealing with algae can be one of the most frustrating aspects of the aquarium hobby. While there are a plethora of products on the market to help combat invasive algae, introducing a well built clean up crew can help naturally remove algae before it ever becomes a significant issue. Within this article we will break down some of our favorite clean up crew species that can help prevent and remove a variety of aquarium algae's. We define each of these species as a unique "algae buster". If you are experiencing an algae invasion, you are more than welcome to reach out to our customer care team to get any questions answered or to acquire a specific recommendation.

In the first part of this series, we will feature four clean up crew species that perform algae control on your saltwater aquariums. We will first take a look at a snail species for general clean up and a crab species for bubble algae extraction. Then, we will present another snail species perfect for algae removal in your sandbed. Finally, we will discuss a fish variety that works hard to keep your sand bed filtered and clean.

Summary:

The Swiss Army Knife Species: Turbo Snails

The Bubble Algae Bandit: Emerald Crabs

The Sand Bed Algae Guardians: Nassarius Snails

The Filter Feeder Algae Deleter: Diamond Watchman Sand Sifter Goby

The Swiss Army Knife Species: Turbo Snails

Turbo Snail
Turbo Snail

If you are looking for a snail species that can eradicate a plethora of algae varieties look no further than the Turbo Snail. There are a large range of species that fall under the turbo snail category but most of them will eat the same amount and types of algae. Something to keep in mind with Turbo Snails is that they can get very large and can knock over rocks or coral frags that are not secured down. In terms of the type of algae you can expect Turbo snails to go after, turf, diatom, film, and the occasional hair algae's. While Turbo snails can do some excellent damage on most algae's they unfortunately will not go after red slime and often can be hit or miss when it comes to green hair algae. One weakness of the Turbo snail is that they can struggle to right themselves if they fall or get knocked over. If you notice a turbo snail on its back, it is important to flip it over as soon as possible to prevent its death and a large increase in nitrate. Even with this weakness the Turbo Snail would be our pick for the best all around algae buster.

The Bubble Algae Bandit: Emerald Crabs

Dealing with bubble algae can be the most frustrating to get rid of once it takes hold in your aquarium. Once the bubble algae begins to multiply it is important to know that the best way to eradicate it is through manual removal during a water change. The best way to avoid bubble algae in your aquarium is simply to take steps to prevent it from ever entering your tank in the first place. One of the best modes of prevention when it comes to this algae variety is introducing an Emerald crab. The emerald crabs will eat any bubble algae that does enter your aquarium and prevent it from continuing to multiply. Something to keep in mind with Emerald crabs is that they can be both territorial and aggressive. You should not have more than one in a small aquarium. An emerald crab should also not be kept in an aquarium with any slow moving fish species that could fall victim to the powerful claws of an emerald crab. If your tank is already infested with bubble algae combining manual removal, nutrient export, and the use of emerald crabs will be your best recipe for success. For their unique desire to consume bubble algae, emerald crabs are our pick for a bubble algae buster.

Emerald Crab
Emerald Crab

The Sand Bed Algae Guardians: Nassarius Snails

Nassarius Snail
Nassarius Snail

Constant sand bed vacuuming with every water change can get old quick. In order to cut down on this tedious process, aquarium hobbyists like to introduce Nassarius snails to their tanks. These snails live in your sand-bed and can be differentiated by their antennas that can often be seen popping up through the sand. Nassarius snails will constantly patrol your sand-bed while eating a plethora of algae, diatoms, fish waste, and detritus. These snails are also a great way to clean up any fish food that eventually makes it down to the floor of the aquarium. This is a scavenging species that we recommend for tanks in need of a clean sand-bed cleaner. In terms of the amount of snails needed for your aquariums, we recommend one Nassarius snail for every five gallons of volume. Once your tank lights go out, you can occasionally find this snail variety putting in overtime on your glass walls. For the Nassarius snail's unique abilities, it is our pick for the best sand bed algae buster.

The Filter Feeder Algae Deleter: Diamond Watchman Sand Sifter Goby

While most clean up crew species are restricted to invertebrates, there are some fish species who can be great contributors to cleanup crews. One of these species is the Diamond Watchman Sand Sifter Goby who can live in an aquarium as small as 25 gallons and can grow to a maximum of six inches. These gobies will filter sand through their gills and feed on detritus, algae, and leftover food within the sand-bed. They will also burrow underneath rocks for shelter and it is therefore important to make sure all rock and coral is secured to prevent any collapsing chaos. The Diamond Watchman's can get territorial and we would recommend a minimum of 40 additional gallons for each goby you would like to add to your aquarium. You will not want to strictly rely on Diamond Watchman gobies to do all of your sand-bed cleaning but they will be a great asset to assist with algae and detritus management in the sand-bed. In terms of additional food, most gobies will take well to most frozen food varieties. For their unique ability to filter feed, the Diamond Watchman goby is our best algae buster to filter your sand bed.

Diamond Watchman Sand Sifting Goby
Diamond Watchman Sand Sifting Goby

Final Thoughts:

We hope the first part of this series has given you some insight into a few excellent saltwater aquarium species you can introduce to both control and prevent nuisance algae in your tanks. While there are a significant amount of products on the market to help reduce and remove aquarium algae, having a natural solution to invasive algae is the most sustainable option and, it will not require you to constantly have your hands in the tank. If you have any specific questions or if you are looking for a clean up crew recommendation, our customer care team would be happy to assist you. Keep your eyes peeled for part two of this series!