Do Platies Eat Algae?

Play fish are colorful, socially adept fish that bring plenty of life and a vivacious scene full of colors and movement to your aquarium. They’re also relatively maintenance-free fish, as you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep them alive and pay for wallet-crippling accommodations.

Platies will eat algae under certain conditions. However, if your platies live in a quality environment with balanced, freshwater, with plenty of food delivered in a timely fashion, you won’t see them eating algae very often. 

The thing is, platies will eat algae in a wild environment, or in an environment where they are underfed. But it’s not something that you will normally catch them doing when you feed them quality food on a regular basis.

You may also catch them eating algae if it’s really close to food time. Fortunately, it’s not a problem, as algae aren’t bad for them in the least. If you catch your platies going to town, however, gorging on all of the algae in sight, you may want to reconsider your feeding patterns.

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What Kind of Algae Do Platy Fish Eat?

Platy fish don’t diet on just any old algae. They have their particular tastes and knowing what they are, it’s a good idea to possibly add some to your platies’ aquarium environment. If they’re well-fed, it may be more than a decorative item that is occasionally a healthy treat.

  • Hair or Thread algae
  • Fuzz algae
  • Staghorn algae
  • Green slime algae
  • Brown algae
  • Surface algae
  • Black Beard Algae

That’s hardly all of the algae in existence, but it’s a pretty extensive list nonetheless. If you’re thinking about adding some to your aquarium, hair/thread algae is always a good idea, because it is very resilient and can more easily endure platy “snack time.”

You also have to be careful when you add algae to your tank, as it will deplete the levels of oxygen in your tank and, as its own method of survival, absorb many of the minerals and nutrients that are important for the life cycle of your platies.

It’s also like candy. Giving your child a Snickers bar is no big deal. Giving your child ten Snickers bars and letting them eat all of them is a recipe for a nasty digestive rejection of the entire thing.

The same holds true with algae in your tank and your platies. Too much is unhealthy for the fish, as it both deprives them of a balanced ecosystem and if your platies eat too much. Plus, out of the above list of algae, there are some that you don’t want anywhere near your tank.

Brown Algae

Brown algae is a spreading nightmare that you don’t want in your aquarium. Your platies may like it a bit but pretty soon, it will take over your aquatic system altogether and your platies will probably be in dire straits. There are other aquatic creatures that consume brown algae, but they are mostly saltwater specimens.

Black Beard Algae

If you find some of this algae in your aquarium, you’re doing something wrong. When Black Beard algae appears, it means that there is an imbalance, in terms of far too much carbon dioxide.

While your platies will happily gorge on Black Beard Algae you need to clear it out and bring your aquarium back into balance.

Fuzz Algae

If you spot this in small amounts, there’s not much of a problem and your platies will make quick work of it. However, if it shows up in abundance, you have the same problem as you would with the Black Beard algae because it’s an indication that your CO² levels are way up.

Best Algae for Your Platies and Aquarium

Outside of the above-listed algae types, there are some that are a good idea to have in your tank and some that are okay if they show up on their own. You should always test your water if algae show up on its own, just as an extra precaution and even if you know what it is.

Hair/Thread Algae

Like most algae types, you don’t want far too much of this stuff in your tank, but just enough to add a level of decoration and give your platies something to snack on if they want to. These algae will spread quickly, however, so you will need to prune it back and maintain control over it.

It’s a good algae for your platies because it’s nutritious and it’s a very hardy plant. Your platies is not going to be able to eat right through this stuff until it is completely gone. It’s more like a stick of gum that you chew on occasionally and wrap it up for later.

Surface Algae

If this stuff shows up, it’s a good idea to test the water but your platies will probably tear through it pretty quickly unless it’s in abundance. The good news is that it is easy to control, as all you have to do is scoop it right out of the tank.

It doesn’t really stick to anything and it’s easy for your platies to consume if they feel like they want it. If you feed them well, you may just have to scoop it out anyway, as they won’t bother with it.

Staghorn Algae

This is a form of red algae and won’t grow out of control. Like the Hair algae, it’s very hardy and resistant to a platies’ overly hungry ministrations. They will stick on the bottom pretty hard so they may be a pain to remove if they start growing a little out of control, but your platies will enjoy them while they’re there.

Final Thoughts

Platies love all of the above-listed algae, however, some is more good for your tank than others, and still, more are really bad for your tank’s ecosystem. Whether you have it in your tank or not, always be sure to establish a routine and feed your platies on that routine daily.

That way, they can enjoy a little algae from time to time as more of a treat rather than dinner.