Do Otocinclus Eat Hair Algae? Not Really!

Last Updated on July 30, 2022 by cmoarz

You may have heard people say that Otos are good at eating algae and other things off of aquarium glass. So do otocinclus eat hair algae? No, unfortunately, they do not. They may nibble on it a bit, but they will not do any serious damage to it.

The truth is, otos eat a large variety of things, including soft algae and detritus. They are not, however, specialized in eating hair algae and will not do a very good job of it.

In fact, it’s likely your oto won’t even look at the stuff.

If you’re looking for fish that will help control hair algae in your aquarium, you’ll be better off with something else.

There are many other options out there that will be much more effective at controlling these nuisance algae.

Some species that eat hair algae include:

  • Mollies
  • SAE’s
  • Rubber-lipped plecos
  • Whiptail catfish
  • Goldfish
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So, what algae do otocinclus eat?

Otos do eat algae, just not hair algae. They will graze on soft algae and other plant matter. They are particularly fond of diatoms and green algae, but just about any soft algae, they will attempt to suck up.

If you have an algae problem in your aquarium, otos may help to control it. But don’t expect them to completely solve the issue on their own. They just aren’t built to consume that much of it, especially if they are getting supplemental feeding (which is necessary for their survival, so don’t starve your oto’s hoping they will eat more algae).


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!