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Should I put algae eaters in an outdoor pond?

Updated February 21, 2017

Algae eaters are often sought after by pond and aquarium owners to minimise algae growth. Outdoor ponds have a different ecosystem than an aquarium, so the challenge is a different habitat. Algae eaters can be placed in some ponds.

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Consider where your pond is located before placing the algae eater into the pond. If the pond is located too far north, where the algae eater would not survive the winter, or the pond is too large or not compatible for a heating system, then the algae eater is not going to survive the cold. If you live in a warm or temperature-controlled climate with winters that remain above freezing, then the algae eater can be placed safely into the pond.


Common Plecos, known also as armoured catfishes and Garra Pingi Pingi, are well suited for ponds. You may also want to consider placing some Trapdoor Snails into the pond along with the algae eaters, for extra life if the winters are warm and mild. You can expect the Common Plecos to breed within the pond, while they do not naturally in an aquarium habitat.


Consider the size and depth of your pond before placing the algae eaters. If the pond is small, placing only one may do the trick. Plant aquatic plants like water lettuce, water hyacinth or water lilies, depending upon your temperature climate zone. Floating plants naturally oxygenate the water and help the algae eaters do their job more efficiently. The important thing is to balance the algae with the life in the pond that eat algae and the life that grows within it.

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About the Author

As a former elementary school teacher, Cheryl Starr now writes full-time from Missouri. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including "Teachers of Vision," "Insight" and "Highlights." She is currently writing a novel and a devotional book. Starr studied elementary education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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